The rise of the Digitally Native Vertical Brand - Spotlight on UK and European DNVB

by Matt Kendall

There is disruption happening in the eCommerce space, much of which is being caused by a specific type of startup brand. We became interested in the likes of Warby Parker, Casper, Everlane and Bonobos not just for their approach to business but also the emphasis they placed on user experience as part of the entire service offering. By not being afraid to break established design patterns, and unencumbered by legacy systems, they have epitomised the level of service the modern consumer has come to expect.

In this relatively new movement, the poster children are often born out of Silicon Valley, and we wanted to look closer to home to see who was succeeding in this space on this side of the Atlantic.

The terminology Digitally Native Vertical Brand - often shortened to DNVB - is being used to characterise these brands. So what is a DNVB, and who are operating in this space?

As I dig deeper into this space, I'll update this blog regularly.

What is a DNVB? (Digitally Native Vertical Brand)

A digitally-native vertical brand meets four criteria:

The Book of DBVB's, Andy Dunn


Founded 2004, London
2016 Revenue £48.8M*

Don’t let the recent sale to the Walmart Heirs, and the resulting diversification into wholesale, mask a remarkable growth in a niche market of ‘luxury cycling’ powered by owning their route to market and making the majority of revenue through their own site.

In 2012 the flagship London store opened, followed by rapid worldwide expansion using the same ‘Clubhouse’ model that places as much emphasis on cycling culture (coffee, pre-ride meets, live racing) as it does the product. The Rapha Cycling Club membership scheme followed, charging £135 per year for access to exclusive kit and benefits - the club reputedly boasts over 10,000 members and proves the deep brand sentiment many feel towards them.

Previously based on Wordpress and Hybris, their recent online revamp saw them go all in with Hybris.

* Source;


Founded 2014, London
2016 revenue £18m*

A true example of a brand following DNVB best practices, the brand that ‘revolutionised the humble slipper’ was born when Ankur Shah took to the internet to look at what people were searching for. After first looking at flip flops further research told him that slippers could be a £4bn industry. Vast investment into acquiring customers with display ads online saw the brand grow rapidly and reportedly be profitable from the off.

Built on Shopify.

* Source;

Seven Feet Apart

Founded 2016 St Albans
Revenue undisclosed, £58,000 second seed funded.

Built on Shopify

* Source;

Ace & Tate

Founded 2013 Amsterdam



Founded 2002 Koblenz, Germany
Revenue undisclosed, £180m*

* Source;

Simba Sleep

Eve Mattress



Related reading

The Value of user experience design for eCommerce Brands

Most marketers are familiar with the concept of user experience (UX) design in relation to their brand and ecommerce website. But many may not necessarily have had the opportunity to examine the real value it can bring for their customers, their brand and their business.

by Jonathan McNamara

Read more

How to build a luxury brand online

RetroFuzz brought to this journey brand knowledge, creativity and expert responses to our needs, delivering a website we are truly proud of which will allow us to keep on growing towards our goals.

by Matt Kendall

Read more
We'll look after your data - here's our privacy policy
Thank you! We'll be in touch soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Could you try again?