The Real Real luxury consignment Web site said today it has raised $40 million in Series E funding.
The round — which was led by Greenspring Associates, with other new investors including Broadway Angels, Next Equity and Springboard Fund — brings the company’s total funding to $123 million.
Existing investors Canaan Partners, E.ventures, Greycroft Partners, InterWest Partners, DBL Partners and Industry Ventures are also participating.
“Over the last five years, The Real Real has shown tremendous growth and innovation in the online luxury consignment space and has solidified its position as the leader,” said Greenspring Associates venture partner Deric Emry. “After studying numerous companies in the space, we believe The Real Real’s unique business model of taking inventory and authenticating the items prior to sale is a winning model, engendering trust with the customer and consignor. We’re thrilled to support a company and team that we believe has a long, sustainable future.”
“I knew we were going to raise one more round before we went public, but I didn’t necessarily think we’d do it now,” said The Real Real founder and chief executive officer Julie Wainwright. “We got a good term sheet. It seems like companies are struggling a bit to get funding and that the environment for funding is pretty hard. Our lawyer said deals are falling apart left and right. It felt unpredictable. What if the world changes?”
Wainwright said the timetable for the initial public offering won’t change. “The IPO is a couple years away,” she said. “To me, the funding gives us the option to consider some strategic investments. Companies are coming to us to potentially buy them. If we find someone we want to buy, we want to have enough capital to buy them.”
Any acquisition would “have to have a business model very close to our own,” Wainwright said. “We’re getting [an offer of] one company a week from all over the world. With this capital, it allows us to look at things a little differently.”
The Real Real, which expects to double its revenue again in 2016, will use the funds to grow both domestically and internationally. The site, which ships internationally, will expand its operations overseas. “We were going to do that post-IPO,” Wainwright said. “We may open a fine jewelry and watch valuation office oversees for consignors.”
The company, which unveiled fine jewelry and watch valuation offices in New York and Los Angeles, previously said that it will open offices in Chicago and San Francisco this year. Wainwright said even more offices could be opened than originally planned.
Among the top selling brands in the category are Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Rolex. Chanel ready-to-wear and accessories, Hermès handbags and Gucci ready-to-wear and handbags are in demand. Wainwright noted that The Real Real consignors shop at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-porter, Barneys New York and Nordstrom.
“We’re growing like crazy,” Wainwright said. “We’re opening a 240,000-square-foot warehouse in Brisbane, Calif.” A smaller San Francisco-area warehouse will move, as will the company’s corporate headquarters in two years.
Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t a draw for Wainwright, who said, “We have three million to four million unique visitors to the site every month. You couldn’t get that in brick and mortar. Our answer is the valuation offices. We’re adding more consignors and more buyers. It’s growing the consignor base.”
While The Real Real has grown beyond apparel, accessories, shoes, handbags and fine jewelry to encompass home categories such as furniture, art, tabletop rugs and decorative accessories, Wainwright isn’t going further afield. “We looked at cars last year and felt we had a bigger opportunity in fine jewelry and watches.”
The company, which was launched in June 2011, has sold more than two million items. Wainwright said there’s a deep supply of luxury products waiting to hit the market. “In the U.S., $60 billion worth of products went into the market last year,” she said. “Worldwide, it was $200 billion. There’s a lot of quantity out there.”
The consignment model has changed the way Wainwright shops. “Now, I’m buying more expensive things and I don’t keep them as long,” she said, noting that she sells items within two years max. “It’s investments that you can recoup.”