Rocket Internet’s Brazilian online fashion retailer Dafiti today announced a $70m funding round from Toronto-based Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (OTPP), a major institutional investor, bringing total investment in the online shop to $255m. It’s the first time a pension plan has invested in one of Rocket Internet’s portfolio companies – and, at least at this point, it’s not expected to be the start of a trend.
Today’s announcement is Dafiti’s largest funding round since its 2011 launch. In a statement, Dafiti cofounder Philipp Povel said the company – which operates in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico – will use the funding to “strengthen customer service and product assortment”.
Last December, Dafiti snapped up $65m from Quadrant Capital, Investment AB Kinnevik and Summit Partners. Other investors in the shopping site, which offers customers a range of products in apparel, cosmetics and home goods, include US financial firm JP Morgan and Mexico’s León Group.
Since launch, the company has grown aggressively to 1400 employees with over 125,000 products.
Pension plans – a new source of funding for Rocket Internet?
It’s the first time that the OTPP, which manages $125.5bn in net assets worldwide and claims a 10.1 per cent return rate since 1990, has invested in a Rocket Internet portfolio company. It’s also the first time any pension plan has become involved.
Asked if pension plans were expected to become a new funding source for Rocket Internet portfolio companies, a Rocket Internet spokesman said: “We do not expect pension plans to be involved in future.”