Rent The Runway, the service similar to Netflix for renting designer clothing, has raised $20 million in funding. This raises the amount of venture capital the company has raised to more than $51 million. The funding was led by Condé Nast Publications, and included Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who are all existing investors.
Rent the Runway is a service where women can rent designer clothing and accessories such as gowns and other high end fashion pieces. The service (as we reported a few weeks ago) recently gave users the ability to shop for items based on user-generated photos other users uploaded, a feature they named “Our Runway.” The service has over 3 million members and 170 designer brands in its current inventory.
To have Condé Nast, the publisher behind Vogue, Lucky, Glamour and other fashion magazines is a huge opportunity for a fashion startup.
“We are excited about diversifying our portfolio through an association with Rent the Runway which allows our readers a new way to access luxury brands and we look forward to creating unique consumer-centric programs with them,” said Bob Sauerberg, president of Condé Nast, who will join Rent the Runway’s Board of Directors.
Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder of Rent the Runway says the funding from Condé Nast will allow the company to expand and utilize new technology to the site.
“We want to disrupt and revolutionize the retail industry and the backbone of this is technology.”
As for the partnership with by Condé Nast, she says, “This is a partnership beyond just being an investor. We will be integrating with their organization to take advantage of marketing and sales prowess they have, and help create brand awareness for Rent The Runway.”
To have an established company such as by Condé Nast back this startup also adds legitimacy to the rental model of business which is gaining in popularity. After Netflix paved the way and changed customers’ way of thinking regarding renting instead of purchasing products, companies such as Chegg (textbooks), Airbnb (apartments) and Lacquerous (nail polish) are flourishing.