With the grasp that social media continues to clutch on the fashion world (and most every other industry for that matter), young entrepreneurs are creating the next wave in social networking by carving out world wide web space for the style community to share, inspire, and interact. StyledOn is one of these premiere destinations.
Created in May of 2010 by uber-stylish 23 year old Leora Kadisha, a recent Boston University grad, StyledOn has been dubbed by some as the Facebook for the fashion sect. Kadisha’s intention was to create a space that combined the exploding social networking movement alongside the rise of influence of fashion bloggers. By blending the two together she wanted to deliver a platform for social discovery.
At the heart of StyledOn are its community pages where users generate content to create their own fashion profile. Each individual profile allows users to upload various types of images that represent their specific style. Whether street style photos of themselves, wish-list items, photos of inspiration, or favorites from other users, it all culminates into ones fashion autobiography. The best part of the street style photos is that the user can ‘tag’ items they’re wearing which other members can click to be re-directed to purchase or add to their own wish-list. Also, admiring users can follow others, send a compliment, and comment on profile photos. The profiles can be synched to Twitter, Facebook, or Google accounts.
However StyledOn is much more than just a social network. They also provide extensive and thoughtful news and editorial articles as well as specific designer features. There are also VIP members that contribute content such as blogger Bryan Boy, Vogue editors Valerie Boster and Genevieve Bahrenburg, Tibi’s PR Director Liz Walker, and jewelry designer Zani Gugelmann.
The site continues to gain thousands of members, some as far as Russia and Kazakhstan, and has been mentioned in Teen Vogue, Refinery 29, Harpars Bizarre, Paper Mag, The Daily, and named to InStyle’s Best of the Web list for 2010. More so, founder Leora Kadisha has been profiled by T Magazine, voted Spring 2011 Best Dressed by Tory Burch, and recognized as one of New Yorks 20 Most Influential People by Gotham magazine. Her pedigree isn’t too shabby either…her father is Neil Kadisha…co-founder of Qualcomm.
By Paul Fioravanti
Founded in 2007, ideeli functions as a members-only flash sales retail site. With over 4 million members, new sales are displayed daily at 12pm EST and last either 40 hours or until the item sells out. Targeting women, men, and children the site offers apparel, accessories, shoes, and jewelry. Members are notified about upcoming sales through Facebook, Twitter, email, or on the ‘Coming Soon’ section of the site. Another membership advantage is a $25 shopping credit for each referred friend who buys something.
This Series C round will be used to “support growth and expansion plans, including new categories, partnerships, technology initiatives, marketing campaigns and hiring”. Total funding has reached $64.8 million, with prior investments in late 2007 ($3.8M) and 2008 ($20M). Leading the way this round was Next World Capital, who’s managing partner and founder Sebastian Lepinard will join ideeli’s board of directors. Cue Ball Capital participated for the first time while current investors StarVest Partners, Constellation Growth Capital and Kodiak Venture Partners also chipped in.
By Paul Fioravanti
Modasuite is a Montreal, Canada based vertically integrated e-tailer of men’s made to measure suits, shirts and pants. Customers follow 5 steps to construct a garment based on their body type, measurements and fit preferences. The process can also be aided via live chat with the sites customer service department.
The funding is to be used for the sites international expansion.
Real Ventures is a seed stage venture capital firm. They make their investments in software based internet, mobile, digital media, social and casual gaming start-ups. Some other investments are Beyond the Rack, StatusNet, and Whatsnexx. Mark MacLeod will join Modasuite’s Board.
Anges Quebec provides help to its angel investor members in order for them to obtain the most profitable return on their investments. Individual members are responsible for his/ her own investment decisions that are based on their personal investment objectives and criteria. Martin-Luc Archambault will also join Modasuites’ Board.
Bolidea acts as a Lab and Accelerator for start-ups. The Lab is for the development and testing of new tech ideas to see if they can be turned into a viable company. Whereas the Accelerator is the venture arm, offering close mentorship with small investments and supporting of the growth of a start-up. Other investments include ArtFox, Wajam, and CDT eMarketing.
By Paul Fioravanti
Betabrand is an online-only clothing company based in San Francisco. Founded in 2009, they specialize in creating quirky, interesting designs produced weekly in limited batches of a few hundred per garment. Horizontal corduroy pants, un-dyed Black Sheep Wool Sweaters, and Disco Pants made of fabric that actually disperses light are just a few examples of the design aesthetic. Made up of 12 employees, all designs and production are done in house. Releasing 4-6 designs each month the company has monthly revenue of 100k-200k.
The funding round will go towards adding a women’s line in the fall as well as speeding up the production process to 12-16 products a month and.
O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) stresses that its investment focus in on the funding of “disruptors, innovators, and hackers of the status quo”. Their current fund is approximately $60M. Other investments include, Jiraffe, Foursquare, and grouply.
Morado Venture Partners is a $10 million micro-venture fund led by former Yahoo top engineering exec Ash Patel, with involvement from other Yahoo execs that was started in November of 2010. The other investments from the company are in HipGeo, OnSwipe, and two investments in Apsalar.
By Paul Fioravanti
CampusLIVE is a college-focused platform with the goal of connecting students to brands in fun and exciting ways. The site provides free offers from brands and provides a participation ‘contest’ or ‘game’ (i.e. clicking a brands ‘Like’ button, polls, surveys, scavenger hunts, team matches…etc). The contests, offered daily, are University location specific and allow a specific number of students to participate once and once that number is reached a winner is chosen at random. Participation also sometimes offers a separate coupon in addition to eligibility for the sweepstakes prize. Only students with a .edu email address are eligible to sign up. CampusLIVE earns revenue by charging a brand and/or business per completed challenges based on what the challenge requires and what kind of prize(s) the business offers.
Started in 2008 by students from UMass Amherst, the CampusLIVE network spans 293 campuses with more added daily. Since its launch, over 100,000 students have completed a challenge with a total of 500,000 challenges completed.
Highland Capital Partners has invested in more than 225 seed, early and growth-stage companies since1988. Over 100 of them have either been acquired or gone public. The company also boasts these other fashion ventures; City Sports, lululemon athletica, Beyond the Rack, OpenSky, Privalia, Rent the Runway, and StyleFeeder.
Charles River Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firms founded in 1970 with approximately $2.1 billion under management. With offices in Boston, MA and Menlo Park, CA, the bulk of their investments have been in companies with fewer than 10 employees—many with as few as 2 or 3. Other investments include Adapt.ly, Performable, and Twitter.
By Paul Fioravanti