Merchant Innovation

Rent-The-Runway Raises $60M, Eyes Real-World Commerce

Rent the Runway, a web-retailer that allows women to rent designer clothing at affordable prices, has reportedly raised $60 million in venture capital. This pushes the firm’s overall valuation to between $500 million and $600 million and brings its total lifetime corporate fund-raising to $116 million.

Investors are particuarly enthusiastic about the business’s new Netflix-like subscription service. Users have access to a stream of designer clothing items — from the likes of Balenciaga and Badgley Mischka — sent directly to their homes for $50 a month. New items arrive as old ones are sent back, with an option to continue to rent a la carte.

“What we do in the realm of high fashion is open up the total addressable market to millions of women who haven’t been able to afford it before,” said Jennifer Hyman, co-founder of the company.

The startup does not disclose their revenue numbers, but affirms that in 2014 it shipped more volume than it did in the previous four years combined. New customers and new orders have both increased by about 120 percent from 2013 to 2014 according to internal reporting.

With their online brand becoming increasingly entrenched, Rent-the-Runway is now making a real world jump. Rent-the-Runway has brick-and-mortar stores in New York and Washington, D.C. and plans to add stores in fifteen new markets. Part of the new capital also be used to bolster the online business by opening a distribution center on the West Coast. Earlier this year the company opened a 140,000 square-foot warehouse in Secaucus, N.J.

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