Ssense Montréal

Ssense is looking to speed up its global growth plans with the help of Sequoia Capital, which took a minority stake in the Montreal-based fashion platform. 

The investment, Ssense’s first outside money in its 18-year history, valued the company at more than 5 billion Canadian dollars. 

Neil Shen, steward of Sequoia Capital and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China, added: “Under the leadership of brothers Rami, Firas and Bassel Atallah, Ssense has emerged as one of the leading online fashion platforms connecting brands with Millennials and Gen Z consumers around the world. Sequoia is excited to support Ssense in its continued global expansion and China acceleration. The partnership represents another solid step in our efforts in supporting the fashion industry’s digitalization, backing visionary founders to transform and elevate the global fashion e-commerce experience to a new level.”

Ssense averages 100 million monthly page views and said about 80 percent of its audience is between the ages of 18 to 40. 

Rami Atallah, cofounder and chief executive officer, said: “Ssense was founded on the principles of challenging convention and using our platform to amplify the voices that are changing the way we see the world. I’m grateful to be surrounded by a diverse, world-class team who continues to contribute to the ongoing success of Ssense. We’ve found a like-minded partner who shares our belief in pushing boundaries as we advance in our next stages of growth. Together, I’m confident we’ll strengthen the strategic, operational, and technological foundations to achieve our bold aspirations.”

Angelica Cheung, venture partner at Sequoia Capital China, will join the Ssense’s board.

Ssense has been steadily branching out, launching kids in May following its move into beauty, home and pets late last year. 

But it is not the only player looking to make in-roads in the quickly growing Chinese market. 

E-commerce platform Farfetch is also charging hard in the market, especially through a mega partnership with Chinese giant Alibaba and European luxe giant Compagnie Financière Richemont that saw the brands the company sells added to Tmall. Munich-based luxury e-tailer Mytheresa is also in the midst of a global push having gone public in New York this year. 

Luxury e-commerce, even if it has a brick-and-mortar kicker, is something of a digital-age sleeper category that the investment set has woken up to in a big way.

And while high-end browsing and clicking has been gaining for some time, it’s seen by many as having been turbo charged during the pandemic, when lockdowns keep people away from stores and gave them time to settle in to new routines. 

Even as vaccinated consumers start to come back to stores, the whole shopping experience is seen as much more digital than it was and investors want to get their piece of the action.

The stock market is also at a high, helping juice valuations and coaxing more companies into the market. 

And so, dealmakers are looking bigger. 

Next to Ssense’s big valuation — which translates into more than $4.1 billion — there are a host of other fashion and related businesses that are coming in with big numbers. 

Authentic Brands Group is said to have confidentially filed for an IPO that could see the company valued at $10 billion, while sports licensing company Fanatics raised money at a $12.8 billion valuation earlier this year.



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