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JustWears: London sustainable men’s underwear start-up nets £2.6m

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sustainable underwear brand launched in London by a husband-and-wife team and promising “a palace for your phallus” has netted £2.6 million in a seed round led by consumer-focused fund, Pembroke VCT.

JustWears offers customisable underwear made from biodegradable and water-saving tree fibres, seaweed and corn. Each pair features an “ergonomic pouch to treat your crown jewels like royalty“.

The start-up was founded in late 2018 by former financial analyst Alex Walsh and his partner, Yang Liu, after the pair were inspired by Walsh’s struggle to find a comfy and hi-tech pair of boxers.

Liu, who had worked in venture capital, and her husband then spent nearly a year developing their product. They have since appeared on Dragons’ Den – rejecting a lowball offer from Dragon Tej Lalvani in 2020 – and have seen their start-up grow 250% year-on-year to sell more than 150,000 pairs to over 40,000 customers across 70 countries.

The new seed round was led by Hackney Gelato-backer, Pembroke VCT, which is headed up by Next CEO Simon Wolfson’s brother, Andrew Wolfson.

Ignite XL and Sunshine Ventures also participated, alongside angel investors including the Pasta Evangelists co-founder, James McArthur.

Wolfson told the Standard: “We first met the JustWears founders more for interest rather than with the aim to invest in a men’s underwear brand.

“Within a few minutes of meeting Yang and Alex my mind had been changed. This was a serious proposition to invest in founders and a brand which set out to disrupt a sector through quality, innovation and humour. Ever since, my underwear drawer has been JustWears only!”

New cash will be used to grow the start-up’s team to 15 people, invest in sustainable materials and develop new product lines.

Liu, who says the start-up has a $30 billion addressable market, said: “Having experienced first-hand the impact of unsustainable crops like cotton can have on the planet, the time is now to transition to better alternatives.

“After all, the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and that has to change.”

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