Blue Pool Capital, a financial company that’s main role is investing for Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, the co-founders of Alibaba, has invested $20 million in Rent the Runway.
Recode — citing a filing spotted by Lagniappe Labs, the research firm — reported that with the round of fundraising, Rent the Runway is valued at slightly under $800 million. In an interview with Recode, Jennifer Hyman, Chief Executive of Rent the Runway, said the company wasn’t looking to raise new funding — but it was a rare chance and came at a good time in the business’ lifecycle. “I have huge respect for Joe and Jack and wanted to opportunistically involve them in the business as we embark on our biggest growth stage,” Hyman said in the interview. “Given the global aspirations that we have — especially in Asia — I thought they would be very good people to have around the table.” According to the report, at the end of 2016, Rent the Runway raised $60 million in a Series E round of investing that was led by Fidelity. Back then, the company was valued at $750 million as a result. Hyman said Blue Pool invested the same time that the Series E round happened.
With the investment by the co-founders of China’s largest eCommerce company, speculation could arise that they could move to acquire Rent the Runway, which lets women rent designer dresses. It also offers a subscription model so that women can rent clothing for every day. Alibaba has been looking to expand into new markets and has set its sights on expansion outside of its home country of China. “The more visionary, smart people who you have relationships with, it just opens up your optionality,” Hyman said. “It’s good for us whether we IPO, or we sell the business, or we stay private.”