FRANKFURT (Reuters) — Global Fashion Group (GFG) – formed out of five Kinnevik- and Rocket Internet- backed online fashion start-ups active across dozens of emerging markets – has hired the former head of Amazon France as its new chief executive.
The newly merged company said it is taking 32 million euros, or $34.7 million, of new financing from Tengelmann Ventures and Verlinvest at the same 2.8 billion euro valuation as when the five-company merger was first announced in early September.
GFG said it plans to use the funds to finance growth in 27 country markets on four continents, up from 23 countries seven months ago when the merger was announced. It has recently set up operations in Belarus, Ukraine, Lebanon and Brunei.
The company is made up of five regional fashion companies – Dafiti, Lamoda, Jabong, Zalora and Namshi – each established brands in their regions and run by their own management teams.
GFG said former Amazon France president Romain Voog, 43, would become the chief executive, and Nils Chrestin, 34, is to serve as its chief financial officer in January.
The company, which is to be based in London, operates online fashion sites in countries that typically lack reliable transport delivery networks on which modern e-commerce depends.
It overcomes this by creating its own transport networks. Branded vans and motorcycle drivers deliver online purchases to customers, who typically pay cash on demand. They also handle returns, and act as mobile advertising for the service.
GFG has 9,500 employees, roughly 40 percent of them in fulfillment – delivery, warehousing or stock-picking functions. It outsources some delivery operations where local services are available, but considers its physical delivery network a key strategy for connecting to its customers.
“Owning that last-mile delivery is a part of our strategy,” Chrestin said in a phone interview of the investment required. “This will always be a very fundamental part of how we do things.”
Chrestin has spent the last two years as managing director and chief financial officer of Lamoda in Moscow prior to becoming GFG’s CFO in January. Previously, he was a private equity investor with Morgan Stanley Private Equity.
Prior to joining Amazon, where he worked for seven years, Romain spent six years at Carrefour in various leadership roles and worked as a strategy consultant with Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company in Europe and in Asia.
Swedish investment group Kinnevik owns 25.4 percent, while Germany based e-commerce investor Rocket Internet owns 23 percent of Global Fashion Group.