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Global garment maker Hi-Tech Apparel acquires UK scaleup Unmade in expansion drive

Deal for pioneering UK software scaleup valuing company at 10x revenue is part of Hi-Tech Apparel’s mission to capitalise on big brands’ appetite for on-demand and custom clothing

London, UK — 9th July 2024 — Unmade, a software company that enables sportswear brands such as New Balance and Decathlon and fashion brands such as Ralph Lauren to offer customised clothing on-demand, has been acquired by garment manufacturing leader Hi-Tech Apparel.

Founded in 2014 by Hal Watts, Kirsty Emery-Laws and Ben Alun-Jones, the award-winning tech company had raised a combined £15 million from Octopus Ventures, Felix Capital, MMC Ventures, Local Globe, Connect Ventures, Backed VC, Carmen Busquets, and C4 Ventures.

Decathlon, the world’s largest sportswear retailer, will remain a shareholder following the deal, with Unmade retaining the autonomy to work with any brand or manufacturer. The deal, valuing the company at 10x revenue, offers Hi-Tech Apparel, the Thailand-based conglomerate and supplier to some of the world’s biggest sports brands, a huge opportunity to build a digital-first, globally distributed manufacturing model to meet customer demand.

Unmade’s UK-based team, led by CEO Hal Watts and COO Simon Rea, will remain with the business to further develop the industry’s leading digital solution for personalised and customised apparel, boosted by a significant cash injection to propel growth with a series of new hires.

The deal builds on two years of partnership between Unmade and Hi-Tech during which they have successfully delivered custom apparel to teams all the way from amateur clubs to professional athletes and everything in between.

The acquisition will combine Hi-Tech’s manufacturing and logistics expertise with Unmade’s technologies to create a market leading solution for brands and retailers looking for a better approach to teamwear and customisation. Unmade’s team will also have access to Hi-Tech Apparel’s significant resources, expertise and customer base. More than 30 years’ old and with 14,000 employees across Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, while expanding its manufacturing capability in Egypt, Hi-Tech Apparel generates over $300m in annual sales and shares Unmade’s vision to automate the manufacturing process.

Unmade’s technology enables brands to turn designs into manufacturing ready data, lowering minimum order quantities, reducing waste, and boosting manufacturers’ responsiveness. For brands, this on-demand apparel approach increases flexibility and helps them meet Sustainable Development Goals and corporate social responsibility targets.

Unmade perfectly aligns with Hi-Tech Apparel’s mission to build the digital infrastructure needed to achieve manufacturing distribution across multiple geographies in a demand-driven industry.

We have worked closely with the hugely talented Unmade team for a number of years and believe in their ability to build on what is already industry-leading software to give our customers the responsiveness they demand.

Wason Vitanakorn, CEO of Hi-Tech Apparel

This marks a huge milestone for Unmade and gives us a unique opportunity to implement our technology on a much bigger scale. It was clear from our first meeting that Hi-Tech’s vision for a digital, demand driven supply chain solution was very aligned with our own.

We’re extremely proud of the business and grateful to the team who built it over the last decade, in particular Ursula Davies, Simon Rea, and the founders who started out with me, pushing the apparel industry to work in a more on-demand and sustainable way.

Hal Watts, co-founder and CEO of Unmade

Decathlon first invested in Unmade in 2021 and believes enormously in the need for an independent, open platform that can serve our industry as it goes through unprecedented change in terms of customer expectations and speed to market needs.

We look forward to building on the solid foundations and remaining as a key partner as we look to a bright future.

Pierre Vernet, Investment Director of Decathlon

Octopus Ventures led Unmade’s last institutional round precisely because the company has the potential to change an industry known for waste through mass production and mass consumption. Unmade’s demand-driven manufacturing solution represents a bright future for fashion.

Conor Scanlan, Investor at Octopus Ventures

About Unmade:

Unmade is a software company based in London that provides the world’s leading apparel and sportswear brands with the digital infrastructure needed to realise the full potential of their products, unlock market opportunity and connect demand directly to production.

Unmade’s platform, UnmadeOS, uses patented automation and visualisation technologies to enable brands to be demand driven, delivering customisation, teamwear and small batch production at scale. UnmadeOS dramatically increases product variety and speed to market whilst reducing operational overheads, inventory and waste.

Unmade has raised over $18 million in investment and won numerous awards including D&AD, Drapers Digital and Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. 

About Hi-Tech Apparel:

Hi-Tech Apparel is a global leader in garment manufacturing, headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand. The group operates 13 manufacturing facilities with over 14,000 team members across facilities in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and soon Egypt too. Hi-Tech are proud to serve some of the world’s most recognisable brands and are recognised for outstanding levels of craftsmanship and service.

About Decathlon:

A global multi-specialist sports brand catering for everyone from beginners to top athletes, DECATHLON is an innovative manufacturer of sporting goods for all skill levels. With 101,000 teammates and 1,750 stores worldwide, DECATHLON and its teams have been working ever since 1976 to fulfil an ongoing ambition: Move people through the wonders of sport, to help them be healthier and happier in a sustainable future.