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Web Site Refinery29 Raises $20 Million

Philippe von Borries, cofounder and co-ceo, told WWD the funds will be allocated for expansion in a range of areas such as health, fitness, home and news.

NEW YORK — Refinery29 has raised $20 million in a Series C funding to help fuel its evolution.

This story first appeared in the October 16, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Led by the Stripes Group, the investment follows a Series B investment of $5.6 million in January. To date, Refinery29 has raised $30.4 million. Stripes Group managing partner Dan Marriott will join the Web site’s board.

Philippe von Borries, cofounder and co-chief executive officer of Refinery29, told WWD the funds will be allocated for significant expansion in content and programming in a range of areas such as health, fitness, home and news.

He said the capital will help the portal evolve from a fashion site to a new media brand.

“By next year we want to have taken significant steps toward that journey, and we’re already well on our way to being that go-to media company,” von Borries said.

He said refinery29.com will hit about $28 million in ad revenue this year, up from $14.6 million in 2012. The site, which publishes about 100 posts a day, has seen 178 percent growth year-over-year, receives 8.5 million unique visitors a month and has 1.5 million e-mail subscribers.

Refinery29 editor in chief Christene Barberich added: “It’s not a journey of a fashion site that needs to get bigger. It’s understanding the passion points of this audience and how this has changed. Our mission is to be, yes, the largest and most engaging, but also the most relevant lifestyle source for this demographic.” (Eighty percent of the readership is women between 18 and 35).

Von Borries said the company was moving away from selling goods on its site and is pivoting toward a model that directs users to third-party e-tailers.

“It’s about product discovery and emphasizing the hundreds of products that our editors and contributors curate in real time, wish-listing these things and leveraging Refinery29’s strengths as a curator into a real meaningful resource that leads you [readers] to a product find,” von Borries said.