On Friday, the Wall Street Journal's Venture Capital Dispatch picked up on a pretty cool piece of startup funding news with a Canadian West Coast connection. Former Yahoo president Jeff Mallett invested in Shanghai-based online clothier Indochino. Wait for the West Coast connection - it's coming.
Mallett was raised in Victoria, BC and is part of the investment team that is bringing MLS soccer to the Vancouver.
This week, the former Yahoo Inc. president strolled into the Dow Jones offices in midtown Manhattan showing off the fruit of that investment – a metallic grey, custom-tailored suit, matched with a pink-hued, made-to-fit dress shirt and a stylish skinny tie.
The ensemble was the creation of Indochino, a Shanghai-based online clothier that Mallett believes could be a revolution in designer men’s suits. He’s investing his own money and a lot of time to help the company grow.
“People say, ‘Jeff, what are you doing with this dinky little Web company,’” Mallett said. “But I think it can be a big winner in a $7 billion suit market.”
It’s a strange investment for Mallett, who became the 12th employee at Yahoo Inc. when Jerry Yang offered him the job of president and chief operating officer in 1995. Mallett went on to lead the company to an IPO the following year and $1 billion in revenue.
After leaving Yahoo in 2002, Mallett turned to investing, particularly in sports. He owns stakes in Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, the Women’s Professional Soccer league and Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps. He’s also dabbled in Internet investments, such as Napster founder Shawn Fanning’s online music store Snowcap Inc., acquired last year by Imeem Inc.
Mallett discovered Indochino through his alma mater, the University of Victoria, where Indochino was born in 2006 by two students, Kyle Vucko and Heikal Gani.
To date Indochino has raised approximately $300K from Mallett, Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures, and Munich's Acton Capital Partners.
Disclosure: Boris Wertz is a Director of Techvibes Media Inc.