DCM led a $6 million round of funding for AHAlife.com. FirstMark Capital also contributed. New York-based AHAlife is an editorialized commerce platform for curated lifestyle products.
AHAlife.com, an editorialized commerce platform for curated lifestyle products, today announced that it has raised $6 million in new funding. Global venture capital firm DCM led the round with existing investor, FirstMark Capital, contributing.
AHAlife.com previously raised $3 million in March 2010 from angel investors and FirstMark Capital’s First Steps seed fund, bringing total investment to $9 million to date. The company, which launched its beta site in September 2010, has grown its subscriber base by almost 10 times since the beginning of the year.
“We are excited to have DCM on board as a partner given their strong international experience, especially in the US, Japan and China,” said Shauna Mei, CEO of AHAlife.com. “The new capital will be used to accelerate growth in curated merchandising, technology build out, content development and subscriber acquisition.”
Following this latest round of investment, AHAlife.com appointed three new members to its Board of Directors, including: David Chao, co-founder and general partner at DCM, Gen Isayama, general partner at DCM, and Taek Kwon, managing member of Toro Investment Partners and former managing director of private equity firm TPG. They join existing board members Lawrence Lenihan, CEO and managing director of FirstMark Capital and Tim Albinson, CEO of Aravo.
“AHAlife.com’s success is attributable to Shauna’s unique vision – one that blends social content, commerce and expertise to guide consumers to the most hard-to-find and exclusive luxury lifestyle products from around the world,” said David Chao, co-founder and general partner at DCM.
“With DCM’s global experience and relationships, we look forward to helping them further develop partnerships and expand their business around the world,” added Gen Isayama, general partner at DCM.
“The AHAlife team has made extraordinary progress since the site’s beta launch last fall. The company is truly reshaping the way a luxury retailer connects with its customer base,” continued Lawrence Lenihan, managing director at FirstMark Capital.
In the nine months since its beta launch, New York-based AHAlife.com has built its brand as the online platform to discover and purchase unique, hard-to-find, and exclusive lifestyle products from around the world, curated by influential tastemakers. Products span fashion, food, beauty, tech, travel, accessories, home décor, and specialized experiences. The AHAlife Curator community is teeming with creative individuals from around the world with different fields of expertise. Tim Gunn, Donna Karan, chef Daniel Boulud, filmmaker Wendi Murdoch, make-up artist Carmindy, model Petra Nemcova, Foodspotting’s Soraya Darabi, as well as stylists, designers, and editors from top publications are all part of their Curator network. AHAlife.com is not a discount or flash sale site, but is pushing the bounds of content + commerce + curation in the retail industry by providing access backed by tastemakers.
In May of this year, AHAlife.com announced the launch of an e-commerce rewards program based on user influence. The AHA Influencer Network awards people for sharing AHAlife products and content on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, blogs and email. As users share, purchase and invite others, they accumulate points to reach status levels with titles such as Fantastisk, Trés Chic and Molto Sexy. Depending on their level, they receive rewards like free shipping and concierge services.
“AHAlife.com is a new media company with a buy button,” said Mei. “We truly ‘cut through the noise’ by providing a growing number of conscious, engaged consumers with the best products and experiences the world has to offer.”
DCM is an early stage venture capital firm that has been helping entrepreneurs build world-class technology companies since 1996. The firm’s partners manage over US$2 billion, and have made investments in more than 140 technology companies across the United States and Asia. With offices in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Tokyo, DCM provides hands-on operational guidance and a vast network of business and financial resources to its portfolio companies globally. DCM has backed industry leading companies such as 51job (NASDAQ:JOBS), About.com (acquired by The New York Times Co.), Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), eDreams (acquired by TA), Foundry Networks (NASDAQ: FDRY), Kabu.com (TSE Main: 8703), Sling Media (acquired by EchoStar), SMIC (NYSE: SMI), and VanceInfo (NYSE: VIT) as well as upcoming startups such as Bridgelux, Happy Elements, Mbaobao, PapayaMobile, RockYou, SandForce, Trion Worlds, Ustream, and Vipshop. Recent exits include four China-based IPOs: BitAuto Holdings (NYSE: BITA), Dangdang Inc. (NYSE: DANG), Shanghai Luxin (SZSE: 002565) and Renren (NYSE: RENN); two U.S.-based exits: Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) and PGP Corporation (Symantec); and one in Japan: DMP (TSE Mothers: 3652).
About FirstMark Capital:
Based in New York City, FirstMark Capital invests in ground-breaking companies that are creating new markets with innovative technology solutions or fundamentally changing existing markets by applying a fresh approach and new business model. A venture leader with nearly $2 billion in capital commitments, FirstMark’s team of investment and operations professionals have decades of real-world experience and leadership in core technology markets, making the firm uniquely qualified to offer industry insight, relationships and the operational expertise to build lasting businesses. Select historical investments include: Netgear, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTGR); First Advantage Corp. (Acquired by First American Corporation; NASDAQ: FAF); StubHub, Inc (Acquired by eBay, Inc.; NASDAQ:EBAY); Netegrity, Inc. (Acquired by CA Inc; NASDAQ: CA); Flarion, Inc. (Acquired by Qualcomm, Inc; NASDAQ: QCOM); OutlookSoft Inc. (Acquired by SAP AG; NASDAQ: SAP); Vallent (Acquired by IBM; NASDAQ: IBM) and Navic (Acquired by Microsoft; NASDAQ: MSFT). Current investments include: SecondMarket, Riot Games, Dovetail, Knewton, Conductor, Clickable, Lumos Labs, and AHAlife.com.