Brands4friends, a German online shopping club for fashion and lifestyle, has raised more than €10 million in third-round funding. Partech International led the round, and was joined by return backers Mangrove Capital Partners and Holtzbrinck Ventures.
With its third round financing, brands4friends, whose membership base grew to more than 1.2 million within 15 months has negotiated one of the largest growth financings in European e-commerce in 2008. The round of more than 10 million Euros was led by Partech International, joined by return backers Mangrove Capital Partners and Holtzbrinck Ventures, amongst others.
Both the rapid growth in membership and turnover, and the innovative business model of brands4friends with its enormous growth potential have been key drivers for the record-breaking investment. The company will deploy the new money mainly to further expand its market leadership in Germany and for its international expansion. brands4friends is planning to enter new markets, target groups and product segments and will expand its team accordingly.
“brands4friends’s third round financing saw significant interest by numerous investors. Partech International is one of the worldwide leading venture capital companies with many years of expertise in the IT and internet sector. Our online shopping club concept is what convinced Partech International, and we are very happy to have another top partner on board”, said Christian Heitmeyer, founder and CEO of brands4friends. “The round financing provides brands4friends with the resources to further accelerate the growth of our member community, to expand our brand as Germany‘s top exclusive shopping club and to strengthen our operations. Above all it will be the customers who will benefit from this, as we can offer brand products at significantly reduced prices with even better service”, says Constantin Bisanz, founder and Managing Director of brands4friends.
“We know very well the emerging shopping club market for quite some time now, and after a thorough review of the market, we decided to invest in brands4friends. brands4friends is the German market leader and they convinced us with their impressive early results and with its potential to become a highly-profitable, scalable and international business model”, says Philippe Collombel, Managing Partner of Partech International. “We are investing in brands4friends because we see a very high growth potential after an extraordinary start. This potential is primarily based on its established business model, its capacity for innovation as well as the company’s strong management team.”
According to a recent study conducted by the Bundesverband des Deutschen Versandhandels (Federation of German Mailorder Companies), fashion is the strongest growing segment in e-commerce: Germans especially like to order clothing and shoes on the internet: Turnover in these categories increased 18 % year-on-year from 3.9 to 4.6 billion Euros. brands4friends is perfectly positioned to participate in this growth over proportionately in the future, all the more in the current situation.
brands4friends is Germany‘s largest online shopping club with currently more than 1.2 million registered club members. Just one year after launching, brands4friends is one of the fastest growing e-commerce communities worldwide with up to 10,000 new members daily. brands4friends sells original goods from renowned fashion and lifestyle brands exclusively to its members at significantly reduced prices. brands4friends offers on a daily basis limited special offers for products from more than 200 brands, representing both overstocks from current collections as well as “off season” goods and special collections. brands4friends went online in September 2007 and currently employs more than 80 people at their headquarters in the center of Berlin. Founders and Managing Directors are Christian Heitmeyer (CEO) and Constantin Bisanz. Partech International, Mangrove Capital Partners, Holtzbrinck Ventures and other renowned internet companies rank among their investors. The business, operated by Private Sales GmbH, was awarded the Vision Award in conjunction with the “Visions: People. Media. Marketing” Congress and the Innovation Prize “Online Shop of the Year 2008” by the jury of the Mailorder Company Congress. In addition, brands4friends was named “INTERNET WORLD” business idea 2008″.
The founders of brands4friends were awarded the German Entrepreneur Prize in November, offered by the Harvard Business School Association of Germany e.V. and the Harvard Club Rhein-Main e.V.
About Partech International
Founded in 1982, Partech International is a unique global venture capital firm that invests in Internet, e-Commerce, Media, Information Technology, Communication & Components companies in North America and Europe. The firm’s collaborative international team works closely to find the most innovative companies demonstrating a potential for global leadership. Partech International has raised over $1 billion from global investors and has managed over 100 successful exits including Ascend Communications, Business Objects, Cadence, Cartesis, Informatica, ISDNet, Travelprice and Vignette. Current investments in Europe include, amongst others, DailyMotion, Dibcom, Digitick, Goojet, Goom, Qype, Tvtrip and Total Immersion. Further information can be found at http://www.partechvc.com