Business Startups Venture

Moda Operandi Rings Up $100M For Luxury Fashion Platform

Moda Operandi, a high-end online fashion retailer, announced this morning it has raised $100 million in equity and debt financing.

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Existing investors New Enterprise Associates Inc. (NEA) and the Apax Digital Fund co-led the financing, which also included participation from the Santo Domingo family, Comerica Bank, TriplePoint Capital and other unnamed investors. (Former Vogue editor Lauren Santo Domingo is co-founder and chief brand officer of Moda Operandi.)

Moda Operandi co-founder Lauren Santo Domingo

The New York company declined to break down how much of the $100 million it raised was debt and how much was equity. Prior to this investment, Moda Operandi had raised a total of nearly $294 million in venture funding since its 2010 inception, according to Crunchbase data. In a statement, Moda Operandi said the new commitment brings its total equity capital raised to date to $345 million. (So if you do the math – $345 million minus $294 million – one can presume that means it raised another $51 million in equity in this round.)

Its last raise took place in December 2017 when the startup raised $165 million in a growth capital financing round led by Adrian Cheng and Apax Digital. At the time, the company said it would use that capital to expand its footprint in the Middle East and Asia and build up its online showroom and stylist offerings.Now, it says it’s planning to continue investing in its platform “as well as the data and technology systems that power the Moda platform.”

The company declined to provide revenue figures or growth metrics, saying only that it has over 350 employees.

Transformation by design

Moda Operandi describes itself as “an e-commerce platform for fashion discovery that connects consumers directly with established and emerging designers from around the world.”

The company says it has a global network of physical showrooms and personal stylists, and that its mix of commerce and content appeals to a wide range of demographics. Moda Operandi’s site today carries more than 1,000 brands and designers. It goes beyond just clothes, including fine jewelry and home items. The platform has a wide global reach, shipping to 125 countries.

Via email, a spokesperson told me: “In fashion, the majority of pieces in a designer’s collection are shown on the runway, but ultimately, never carried by retailers. Those pieces that never make it to the shop floor, however, often represent a designer’s best work, and are highly coveted by consumers. Moda’s innovative retail model solves that problem, allowing consumers to shop from complete collections, and giving designers a platform to sell their best work.”

In a statement, NEA General Partner Tony Florence said Moda Operandi “has really disrupted the traditional ecommerce model, using technology to give people unprecedented access to fashion.

“It was a really big idea when we led the Series A, and today…[they] are executing on that data-enabled retail model at scale,” he added.

Last July, our own Joanna Glasner took an in-depth look at funding in the fashion sector. At that time, she noted that:

“Over the past couple of years, a raft of companies in the space have gone public, including several with multi-billion-dollar valuations.”

Those companies (as you can see in the chart below) include online fashion reseller TheRealReal, online fashion retailer Revolve and Farfetch, another luxury fashion e-commerce platform.

Maybe fashion has not historically been taken very seriously in the world of venture capital, but as this round and the exits above show, it probably should be. Fashion is a big deal to many people around the world, and that likely won’t be changing anytime soon.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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