Index leads $18m funding round in boutique fashion marketplace
Money set to facilitate opening of New York office
Index Ventures, the investment firm which has previously invested in tech pioneers such as Skype, Just-Eat and Betfair, has led an $18m (£11.7m) funding round in London-based fashion marketplace farfetch.com.
The funding round, which also involved eVenture Capital Partners and Advent Venture Partners, will fuel the development of a unique service which could transform the way fashionistas shop for boutique clothing.
Founded in late 2008, farfetch.com provides a single platform for more than 200 boutiques from 12 different countries, bringing thousands of independent and underground labels to the world’s attention.
The site recently reported annual sales growth of 150%, and now boasts 56,000 customers in 100 countries. The new funding will enable the management team to open an office in New York, and explore further growth opportunities in Brazil and the United States.
José Neves, CEO and founder of farfetch.com, said his company “is growing extremely fast”, and can now “scale up our team and operations, and seize some fantastic opportunities we have in our core business in Europe and beyond”.
As part of the deal Robin Klein, a partner at Index Ventures and key player in revolutionary business accelerator Seedcamp, will join the farfetch.com board. Speaking exclusively to Growing Business, he said:
“We’ve been tracking farfetch for a while now, a couple of years at least, and it’s a particularly exciting time to get involved given the year-on-year growth in fashion ecommerce, compared with the negative results reported by the stores.
“Farfetch provides a unique collection of products, curated by the best boutiques, so the offer is outstanding. Imagine a boutique in Milan, for example – they know their customers, their brand, their market, but they may never be online. Farfetch makes that available to the entire world.”
Klein added that he will draw on Index’s previous experience working with dynamic young fashion companies, such as ASOS and Net-a-porter.
“We will be helping to accelerate the growth of the business, and help it continue by increasing the offer that the company has – in other words, more boutiques, and even greater focus on customer service and delivery throughout the world. Our particular experience in fashion will come in useful.”