French resale platform Vestiaire Collective’s €178M funding round backed by Gucci owner Kering; achieves unicorn status

Vestiaire Collective

The pre-owned fashion sector is experiencing rapid growth during the on-going pandemic. In the current scenario, the growth is being driven by most of the younger consumers who now focus on circularity when making purchases, as well as on sustainability and trends for social shopping and online communities. The amount of secondhand pieces in people’s closets is predicted to grow from 21 per cent in 2021 to 27 per cent in 2023. As for the value of the secondhand sector, it is expected to be worth over $ 60B (approx €49.75B) by 2025.

In a recent development, Paris-based Vestiaire Collective, a global marketplace to buy & sell luxury, pre-owned fashion products, has secured €178M in a fresh round of funding.

This round has granted Vestiaire Collective the “unicorn” status as the company is in a position for its next cycle of accelerated growth following its transaction volume growth of over 100 per cent year-on-year.

Investors in this round

The round was backed by the global French luxury group Kering, and US investment firm Tiger Global Management.

Kering manages the development of a series of renowned brands in fashion, leather goods, jewelry and watches: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, DoDo, Qeelin, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, as well as Kering Eyewear. In 2020, Kering had over 38,000 employees and revenue of €13.1B.               

Speaking on the development, Griffin Schroeder, a partner at Tiger Global, says, “We are excited to support Vestiaire Collective’s continued global expansion plans, which focus on seizing the momentum of already spectacular growth in the US and the Asia Pacific. As of January 2021, local sellers in those regions had increased their items sold by more than 250 per cent year-over-year.”

In addition, existing investors also participated in this round including Vestiaire Collective’s CEO, Max Bittner; Bpifrance (Large Venture); Condé Nast; the Eurazeo Group (Eurazeo Growth and Idinvest Venture); certain funds managed by Fidelity International; Korelya Capital (backed by NAVER); Luxury Tech Fund (LTF & Cuir Invest); and Vitruvian Partners. 

About Vestiaire Collective

Vestiaire Collective was founded in 2009 by Alexandre Cognard, Christian Jorge, Fanny Moizant, Henrique Fernandes, Sebastien Fabre, and Sophie Hersan. It is a social commerce platform that enables people to buy and sell luxury, pre-owned fashion products. 

The company curates and connects the desirable wardrobes and provides a trusted and sustainable new way of buying and selling pre-loved items. It is focused on transforming the fashion industry for a more sustainable future by promoting the circular fashion movement as an alternative to overproduction and overconsumption, and the wasteful practices of the fashion industry.

Use of the funds

Maximilian Bittner, Vestiaire Collective’s CEO, says, “The resale sector as a whole is experiencing rapid growth, especially amongst Millennial and Gen Z consumers, which will come to shape the retail landscape of the future. We are incredibly excited to welcome Kering and Tiger Global Management, both of which will be instrumental in our mission to build a more sustainable fashion industry and further grow our incredible global community.”

The company will use the capital to scale up its technology and data innovation roadmap, accelerate its circularity vision along with initiating strategic change in the fashion industry.

The sustainability roadmap will be focused on four main innovative pillars:

  • Triggering change in luxury fashion: the “Brand Approved” service
  • Empowering and growing its community of ‘fashion activists’: the ‘Fashion Activist’ badge and ‘Follow the Leaf’ program
  • Reducing environmental footprint: carbon neutral by 2026
  • Being an exemplary company: B Corp certified business

François-Henri Pinault, Chairman, and CEO of Kering, says, “Pre-owned luxury is now a real and deeply rooted trend, especially among younger customers.”

What is a “Brand Approved” service?

The global fashion industry produced around 2.1 billion tonnes of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in 2018. Vestiaire Collective offers a key solution to this challenge, facilitating an increase in reuse and reduction of waste. 

The company believes that emphasising the importance of durability and extending the lifespan of pieces will help combat the negative environmental impact of over-consumption. 

Hence, to resolve this challenge, Vestiaire Collective has launched a “Brand Approved” service, offering a buy-back circular solution for brands, supporting the decoupling of economic profit from the use of natural resources. 

The new program was recently launched in collaboration with Kering House Alexander McQueen, empowering the brand to integrate circularity into its business model.

Vestiaire Collective’s community mission

Since its inception in 2009, Vestiaire Collective’s mission has been to extend the lifecycle of products in the fashion industry, supporting a disruptive move towards a circular economy by empowering a community of “fashion activists” to drive profound change.

Vestiaire Collective provides its “fashion activist” community with inspiration, tools, and features to lead the change as they sell and buy pre-loved pieces from each other’s wardrobes. The platform has a highly engaged activist community, and it claims to have a rare, desirable inventory of 3 million items that includes 140,000 new listings every week. 

Vestiaire Collective is a member of the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, Paris Good Fashion, and the UN Fashion Alliance.

Aims to become carbon neutral by 2026

The company says, by buying pre-owned goods, the environmental damage caused by fashion production can be reduced by up to 91 per cent. As part of the sustainability strategy, Vestiaire Collective has just completed a full lifecycle assessment, and the business is now focused on becoming carbon neutral by 2026. 

They have initiated a carbon emissions reduction roadmap, working to reduce shipping distances through a local-to-local scheme and expansion of their direct shipping. With over 50 per cent of orders now completed through direct shipping, the service has already saved over 1,150 tons of CO2 since launching. 

In addition, the business looks to offer more green shipping options and has launched it’s new “less is more” packaging that is 100 per cent reduced, recycled, and recyclable.

Startups – Silicon Canals

Meet Shane Happach: Amsterdam-based fintech unicorn Mollie’s new CEO

Mollie

Amsterdam-based payment services provider, Mollie, has announced the appointment of a new CEO, Shane Happach. Prior to joining Mollie, Happach worked for Worldpay, where he was EVP and Head of Global eCommerce.

Happach succeeds Gaston Aussems, who was Mollie’s CEO between 2013 and mid-2020. He will start on April 1st, 2021, and has been formally appointed by Mollie’s Supervisory Board. His appointment has been confirmed by the Dutch Central Bank.

Speaking about his previous experience, Happach says, “I’ve spent the last 15 years processing payments for some of the largest and most recognisable brands on the planet. I’ve come to a very simple conclusion: merchants are significantly under-served by traditional payment service providers. PSP business models are fundamentally about price and volume and, in Europe especially, merchants need more support from their partners.”

A brief about Mollie’s new CEO

Shane Happach has prior experience of more than 10 years with Worldpay – a payment processing company, first as Chief Commercial Officer of its e-commerce division and more recently as EVP and Head of Global eCommerce. Besides, he was also a member of the executive team at Worldpay for its London IPO and its acquisition by both Vantiv and FIS. 

Before Worldpay, he worked with GlobalCollect – acquired by Ingenico in 2014 – in business development roles across the Americas and EMEA.

Speaking about Mollie, Happach believes, “The people here at Mollie, deeply care about merchants that don’t have whole departments dedicated to payments infrastructure, addressing abandonment and securing customer data. These businesses need that support from their PSP, a PSP whose principal job is to help its customers grow. That’s why I’m so excited to be leading Mollie as we continue to drive product innovation and expansion across Europe.”

In 2020, Mollie had a 120 per cent year-on-year growth and had raised a €90M in Series B funding, led by TCV, valuing the company as a unicorn.

Adriaan Mol, founder of Mollie on Happach, “It’s been an exciting seven months for Mollie, with our strong growth, expansion into the UK, and now the arrival of Shane. Shane ‘gets it’. He understands the problems with the current PSP model. And he understands what Mollie can do to address those problems and simplify complex financial services to help businesses grow. Shane has helped drive impressive – 500 per cent – growth at Worldpay. We know he’s the right person to help drive Mollie’s international expansion and ensure our product innovation meets the emerging needs of our more than 110,000 customers across Europe.”

Earlier in February 2021, the fintech company had appointed Josh Guthrie to head its recently announced UK operations. He is responsible for helping SMEs to navigate their international expansion post-Brexit.

Everything about Mollie

Founded in 2004 by Adriaan Mol, Mollie is a payments platform that offers a process for integrating payments into a site or app.

It is a technology-based company processing payments for more than 50,000 clients with local payment methods such as Mastercard, VISA, Amex, PayPal, iDEAL, Bancontact, Bitcoin, SEPA Direct Debit, Cartes Bancaires, ESP, Giropay, SOFORT Banking, and more. 

Mollie aims to make online payment simple for merchants by taking away the complexity from payment methods and offering a simple, but powerful API.

Startups – Silicon Canals

Paris-based sustainable fashion company Vestiaire Collective achieves unicorn status with a new €178 million round

Today Vestiaire Collective, a second-hand fashion scaleup, announces the completion of a new €178 million financing round and its new unicorn status, backed by global French luxury group Kering (KER.PA) and US investment firm Tiger Global Management. Existing shareholders also re-invested in this round, including Vestiaire Collective’s CEO, Max Bittner, Bpifrance (Large Venture), Condé Nast,…

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EU-Startups

Trustpilot gears up to be a unicorn as it plans London IPO: Here’s what to expect

Trustpilot

Copenhagen-based Trustpilot, an online platform for consumer reviews, has announced its plan to launch its IPO on the London stock exchange. 

London IPO

Trustpilot mentions that it would have a free float of at least 25 per cent of issued share capital and may raise approx $ 50M (approx €41.5M) capital for growth and to repay debt. Furthermore, it is also expected that shares representing up to a further 15 per cent of the offer will be made available pursuant to an over-allotment option.

Besides, Trustpilot will also allow existing shares to be sold by certain existing shareholders, directors, and employees. Reportedly, the firm is targeting a valuation of around £1B (approx €1.15B). Trustpilot is aiming for a premium listing segment of the Official List of the FCA and expects eligibility for inclusion in FTSE UK indices as a result.

Peter Holten Mühlmann, CEO of Trustpilot comments, “Today is a significant landmark in our development. We believe that an IPO of the business will allow us to continue the momentum of recent years, providing a platform to deliver new products to more geographies, and succeed in our vision to become a universal symbol of trust.” 

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are global coordinators on the deal and bookrunners along with Berenberg and Danske Bank.

Let’s talk numbers

Trustpilot has experienced strong growth on its platform. As of 31st December 2020, over 529,000 domains (both claimed and unclaimed, and including domains subsequently removed from the Trustpilot consumer website) had been reviewed. 

In addition, the platform had hosted over 120 million reviews by consumers (including reviews subsequently removed or deleted) and had over 19,500 premium customers for its SaaS products and services.

Trustpilot believes that bookings in any given period are a leading indicator of revenue in the subsequent periods. The company had bookings of $ 75.2M (approx €62.4M) in 2018, $ 95.6M (approx €79.33M) in 2019, and $ 113.2M (approx €93.9M) in 2020, while total revenues were $ 64.3M (approx €53.35M), $ 81.9M (approx €67.96M), and $ 102M (approx €84.65M) for the years ended 31 December 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively.

Mühlmann says, “We have experienced strong growth as both consumers and business have joined, attracted to Trustpilot’s truly open platform where the integrity of reviews is critical. This growth has been supported by investment in a best-in-class technology platform. Accessible tools and analytics are provided by systems able to securely process 1,800 terabytes of data per month, and our AI tools also seek out and remove fake reviews.”

Everything about Trustpilot

Trustpilot was founded in 2007 by Peter Holten Mühlmann (CEO), with a vision to create an independent currency of trust. Mühlmann says, “Trust is one of a company’s hardest credentials to prove but among the most important to consumers. Our mission is to become a universal symbol of trust, empowering consumers to make confident, informed purchasing decisions while allowing businesses to fill the trust gap by demonstrating the quality of their services and gain actionable insights to improve it.”

Trustpilot provides an open platform, where businesses and consumers can gain actionable insights and collaborate. Consumers are able to share feedback about any business with a website and review feedback left by other consumers.

The platform not only facilitates better purchasing decisions but also gives consumers the opportunity to recommend businesses, products, services, and locations based on their experiences.

For businesses, they can use Trustpilot to engage with consumers that are reviewing their products and services as well as respond to consumer reviews. To make the platform legit, Trustpilot prevents businesses from choosing which reviews are published on, or removed from, its platform, so that all reviews can be seen by consumers.

The company offers paid subscription models for businesses, providing increasing levels of functionality and offered on a SaaS basis. For example, business customers are able to showcase reviews from consumers in their own marketing materials, access actionable insights gleaned from Trustpilot’s big-data ecosystem, gain insights from Trustpilot’s proprietary data analytics software, and benefit from automated review invitation capabilities.

Startups – Silicon Canals

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