Fashion marketplace farfetch.com raises growth equity from Advent Venture Partners to help it expand in Europe, North America and Brazil

Press Release:

9 July, 2010 - London: farfetch.com, the fast-growing online fashion marketplace for independent fashion boutiques from across Europe and North America, today announces a $4.5 million growth equity investment from Advent Venture Partners. Frederic Court, General Partner at Advent, is joining the farfetch.com board.

farfetch.com is also announcing a key strengthening of its team with two key appointments:

• Susanne Tide-Frater joins as Brand and Strategy Director. Susanne is the former Creative Director at Harrods and Selfridges, and is currently Fashion Director at 19 Entertainment, where she helps develop its fashion collections including Victoria Beckham and Roland Mouret.

• Andrew Robb joins as Chief Operating Officer. Previously, Andrew was Managing Director of membership-only online retailer Cocosa. He brings with him a wealth of ecommerce experience.

London based farfetch.com was founded by serial entrepreneur José Neves in October 2008. Initially open to European boutiques, it expanded to North American boutiques in 2009. The site has experienced rapid growth and now represents 44 boutiques that sell over 1,000 brands and 11,000 individual lines through its marketplace. Visitors have increased by more than 70% every six months since launch, and this growth is also reflected in sales, which in the last six months have seen an uplift of 105% on the previous six month period.

The site’s customers have access to a hand-picked collection of clothing, accessories and lifestyle pieces by designer brands, ranging from established names such as Comme des Garçons and Balenciaga to emerging designers such as Current Elliot and Bless. L’Eclaireur, the original Paris concept store, is the latest to offer online customers access to its array of global brands and fashion vanguards (from Christopher Kane to Junya Watanabe, Balmain to Tim Hamilton) via farfetch.com, joining the site for the AW10 season.

Advent's new investment will be used by the company to continue expanding its operations in Europe and North America as well as to expand into Brazil. In Brazil farfetch.com is building a network of independent boutiques and designers who will sell through its Brazil-only marketplace.  farfetch.com has already built a global following, with customers in over 100 countries. Approximately 40% of orders come from the UK and Europe, 30% from North America, 15% from Asia and the Middle East, 5% from Australia and 5% from Brazil and the rest of South America.

New appointment Susanne Tide-Frater, Brand and Strategy Director, said: “I am delighted to join farfetch.com and be part of the team led by José. farfetch.com is one of the most innovative and fast-emerging fashion websites and has the opportunity to become the experiential online destination for forward-thinking fashion shoppers. This is a natural evolution for me and I am very keen to be part of it.”
 
“The online fashion market is a vast and fast-growing market which we targeted as part of our strategy to invest in capital-efficient ecommerce businesses. Following an extensive review of the market, we decided to back farfetch.com which hit all our investment criteria: proven entrepreneurial team, fast-growing revenue, highly differentiated positioning and a strong ability to scale with limited capital requirements. We are thrilled to be involved with a company which has already made significant impact within its market based on its unique business model”, said Frederic Court, General Partner at Advent. 

Commenting on these two key milestones for farfetch.com, José Neves, CEO and Founder, said: “Our customers tell us they love farfetch.com for our unique range of labels and for our informed fashion viewpoint and vision. With Advent, Susanne and Andrew on board we are now in a very strong position to accelerate our growth, benefitting from their deep understanding of our market and proven expertise at building businesses. They will also help us provide our partners with the best tools and platform to help them better leverage this fast-growing channel.”

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors:

About farfetch.com
farfetch.com was founded by José Neves and launched in October 2008. As an independent boutique owner himself, José's belief was that independent boutiques hold the most diverse and interesting selection of fashion brands in the market and that if he could unite these boutiques online, the resulting website would have an unparalleled appeal to fashion shoppers worldwide.

farfetch.com aims to maintain the personalities of the unique boutiques that it represents by bringing each of their fashion viewpoints to life online, not only by offering the collections that their owners and buyers have hand-picked, but by allowing these individuals to express their opinions through editorial features and blog posts.

Through farfetch.com shoppers can effortlessly explore a carefully edited collection of the most respected fashion stores of Paris, London, Milan, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and New York, in just a few seconds, all from the comfort of their home or office.

www.farfetch.com
 
About Advent Venture Partners
Advent Venture Partners is one of Europe’s most established venture and growth capital firms, investing in world-class technology and life sciences businesses. We seek out remarkable companies that want a pragmatic and well-connected partner by their side. We are dedicated to executing a risk-balanced investment strategy delivering consistent returns for our investors. Advent’s technology team backs leading European technology-driven growth businesses in Internet, digital media, software and services, telecoms, and cleantech. Our investments include: Zong, a leading mobile payments solutions provider; Qype, Europe’s largest local search and review site; and The Foundry, a buyout of the Academy Award winning global visual effects software vendor for the post-production industry.

www.adventventures.com

About Susanne Tide-Frater
Susanne is Brand and Strategy Director at farfetch.com. She started her retail career at Selfridges, where she was Creative Director for eight years before moving on to Harrods in the same role. Since 2006 Susanne has worked as a consultant for a number of brands and retailers. In 2008 she became Fashion Director for 19 Entertainment, where she currently develops the Victoria Beckham and Roland Mouret labels amongst others.

About José Neves
José Neves is a London-based fashion entrepreneur who prior to founding farfetch.com, created the highly regarded London boutique b Store (British Fashion Award 2006 – “Retailer of the Year), which is at the forefront of introducing interesting new fashion talent to the UK. He also founded SIX London (www.sixlondon.com), which has in its portfolio, brands such as b Store and Swear, as well as footwear licenses for global cutting edge labels like Opening Ceremony and Ksubi. SIX London wholesales its labels to 600 top fashion retailers worldwide.

About Andrew Robb
Andrew Robb is an Internet and ecommerce veteran with over 10 years in the industry. He recently joined farfetch.com from Cocosa.com, a premium fashion private sale business which he founded and ran as Managing Director. Prior to that Andrew headed up Motors and Category Development for eBay in Australia whom he joined from Peoplesound.com, an online music start-up in London, where he was Business Development Director. Andrew began his career in strategy consulting with Gemini Consulting and holds a BA from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD.

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