Rent the Runway to Beef Up Engineering Staff With $20 Million Investment
Rent the Runway, the designer dress rental site, just received a whopping $20 million investment led by Conde Nast's parent company, Advance Publications.
Other investors in this third round for the company included Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins, the NYC-based start-up announced on Friday.
Co-founder Jenny Fleiss told Inc. that in addition to hiring several senior staffers, the company will use a bulk of the money to add onto its engineering staff.
"We want to streamline the process of renting and make sure it's as simplified as possible." Fleiss said. "We have a goal of being that one-stop shop for a woman's night out so she can fully enjoy the runway moment of her life."
With this latest round, Rent the Runway, which reportedly boasts 3 million subscribers, has raised a total of $51 million.
Fleiss added that Conde Nast president Bob Saureberg will join Rent the Runway's Board of Directors. A publisher of 18 consumer magazines, Conde Nast owns numerous fashion glossies including Vogue, Glamour and Lucky.
"[The magazines] have been showing women photos of celebrities in designer dresses and educating about style, and we're actually letting people consumer that," Fleiss said. "So [Rent the Runway] is a natural extension of what Conde Nast is doing."
Launched in 2009 by Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway offers items from more than 170 designer brands names, including Badgley Mischka and Vera Wang. Through the company's recently launched online social shopping platform Our Runway, members can shop while browsing user-generated photos of real women with their similar body type.
In a 2011 interview with Inc., Hyman said: "We're addressing a need that few other businesses actually cover, and that is that women want to feel self-confident and beautiful for all of the special occasions in their life."
Conde Nast has invested other start-ups, including video analytics firm Visible Measures and digital shopping list and recipe providerZipList. Most notably, it bought Reddit in 2006 and then relinquished control over the news-sharing site in 2011.