Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman at the 2014 Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo.
Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman at the 2014 Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. Photograph by Kevin Moloney — Fortune Brainstorm TECH

Rent the Runway seeks to raise $50 million

Oct 29, 2014

Rent the Runway, a startup that rents designer dresses and accessories, is meeting with investors to raise $50 million in new venture funding, according to sources familiar with the process. A deal has not yet been signed. Rent the Runway’s last round of funding, a $24.4 million Series C led by Conde Nast, which closed in 2013, valued the company at $220 million, not including money from the investment.

The company has raised $54.4 million to date. Bain Capital owns 27% of the company, Highland Capital owns 16%, Kleiner Perkins owns 9%, and Conde Nast owns 5%. Co-founders Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss each own 13% stakes. Novel TMT Ventures and American Express have also invested.

Founded in 2009, the New York-based company is planning to generate $48 million in revenue this year and projects $80 million next year, according to investors who have seen Rent the Runway's financials. (A separate person close to the company says revenue is projected to top $100 million next year.)

The company's service is popular, with five million users who rented $300 million worth of dresses and accessories in the first half of this year, according to the company. Rent the Runway has opened three stores and it is, notably, the country’s largest dry cleaner. But it is not profitable.

In 2013, Rent the Runway generated $28 million, which was 25% lower than internal projections, and lost $14.5 million. In 2012, the company brought in $17.8 million and lost $12.3 million. In 2011, it brought in $10.9 million and lost $5 million.

Investors have expressed concern over the seasonality of Rent the Runway’s business, since women only use its services for special occasions. (The company says customers have 18 opportunities to rent a dress per year, but has not disclosed how frequently they actually do.) Beyond that, there is little weekday demand for the company’s inventory of 65,000 fancy dresses.

To fill that gap, Rent the Runway launched a major expansion into everyday wear this year, introducing a new Netflix-like subscription business at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference. With Unlimited, as the business is called, the company sends three accessories to subscribers for a monthly fee of $75.

Rent the Runway representatives declined to comment. Forbes first reported the news of the company's fundraise.

Update: This story has been updated with additional information about the company's revenue and ownership stakes.

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