8. June 2012–
The high-end shopping club WestWing has just announced record funding round of $50 million. New investors Summit Partners from the US will join existing investors Access Industries, Holtzbrinck Ventures, Investment AB Kinnevik and Rocket Internet in pushing this flash-sale site for the Elle Decor set.
A flashier flash-sale formula
WestWing Home & Living follows the now-familiar "flash sale" shopping club formula, allowing users to request membership to the club, before informing them via email of daily or weekly offers from selected vendor partners – in this case either designer furniture or stylish rather than cutting-edge home accessories. It has a more magazine-style feel than other shopping clubs, however – offering users the chance to linger in a books section or get inspiration from an online editorial magazine.
The Munich-based business now has over three million members worldwide and its turnover in the last five months has reportedly grown tenfold. The company was founded in 2011 by Delia Fischer, George Biersack, Matthias Siepe, Stefan Smalla and Tim Schafer and is now present in over 12 countries worldwide, including France, UK, India, Turkey and Brazil, although sometimes trading as Dalani in different territories (who are more aware of the US Presidential satire, we assume).
Rocket-launched to next level
Unlike Bamarang, a wholesale clone of US shopping club Fab.com, WestWing was not a Rocket-born venture – relying on the Samwers' savvy only later in their life cycle when it needed international rollout. It's a lucrative market, as the founder and CEO of Casacanda, Roman Kirsch will attest to, after he and his company were snapped up by Fab.de to head up German operations, before the US company expanded to more than 13 European countries.
Oliver Samwer also famously stated in his "Blitzkrieg" email that "there are only 3 areas in ecommerce to build billion dollar business: amazon, zappos and furniture.”
WestWing's international spread
And Samwer knows that for retail ventures like this to succeed, super-swift expansion is needed to enjoy the economies of scale. "We want to become one of the world's largest eCommerce retailers in the upcoming Home & Living market," agrees Smalla. "The capital raised will allow us to increase the strong growth continues to drive the scale of business in international markets and expand our offering especially for our customers and brand partners. We are pleased to announce Summit Partners as a new partner and are sure to benefit from their extensive experience in eCommerce."