BILLION DOLLAR STATUS
Rent the Runway reached “unicorn” status yesterday, meaning the company is now valued at more than $1 billion. The online clothing rental service raised $125 million in venture funding from investors including Franklin Templeton Investments, Bain Capital Ventures, and T. Rowe Price.
The news comes days after Glossier, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand, also raised a mega-round of $100 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. Both Rent the Runway and Glossier are women-led and both serve female customers.
My colleague Emma Hinchliffe spoke with Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman about going through the fundraising process (while nine months pregnant). Below is an excerpt of the conversation:
Fortune: What does reaching unicorn status mean to you, especially while nine months pregnant?
Hyman: I’m really proud of it. Rent the Runway is my first child. I feel that I’ve been on a 10-year journey with an amazing team of people to co-parent this Rent the Runway child and have it grow up. I hope it will inspire thousands of other women around the world that they can do this, too. Perhaps there’s more fear of building a business while pregnant than necessary.
How did investors react to you raising money while in your third trimester?
Hyman: It was never brought up. I don’t think that being pregnant affected the process at all. What had a bigger effect on the process is that our consumer base is 100% female. Describing Rent the Runway Unlimited to the investor set is similar to describing Fortnite to a group of senior citizens. They don’t fundamentally get it, or emotionally connect to it in the same way.
It’s interesting that the two biggest new investors in Rent the Runway — T. Rowe Price and Franklin Templeton — that the deals were led at those companies by senior women who also happen to be customers of Rent the Runway. They were able to think deeper in their diligence because they already had baseline understanding of what we were doing.
Being pregnant wasn’t really a dictating factor in when to raise money or whether to raise money. I’ve never worked harder than I’ve worked over the last year of Rent the Runway. That’s because of the acceleration we’ve seen in how women are using the subscription products and how they’re using it for so many of their daily use cases. We really felt when we saw our customers were using this 120 days a year, we really had to go for this and accelerate subscription. I believe that when you’re happy in your life, lots of amazing things happen across all fronts. In a sense, the pregnancy might have fueled the incredible fundraising accomplishments we’ve had and the incredible growth of the business because there’s so much to look forward to.
…Tesla is suing former employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
… And one fun thing: Someone made a parody website called VC Starter Kit. Its tagline is, “It’s never been easier to look like a VC.” The “partner” kit includes a Patagonia fleece vest, Allbirds, and the books Sapiens and Zero to One. Term Sheet was featured under the “content” portion — ”We’ll subscribe you to all of the important VC newsletters like Term Sheet, StrictlyVC, Stratechery, and Wine Spectator.” As Stratechery’s Ben Thompson said, “I can’t decide if I’m honored or horrified to see Stratechery included.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (The website says all profits from starter kit purchases will be donated to AllRaise, a nonprofit dedicated to diversity in tech.)
• HoneyBook, a San Francisco-based provider of a financial and business management platform for freelancers, raised $28 million in Series C funding. Citi Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Norwest Venture Partners and Aleph.
• Avidbots, a developer of autonomous commercial floor cleaning robots, raised $23.6 million in Series B funding. True Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including GGV Capital, SOSV, Real Ventures, and 500 Startups Canada. New investors include Next47, BDC Capital, and KCPL.
• Solugen, a Houston-based company that enzymatically makes industrial chemicals, raised $13.5 million in Series A funding. Fifty Years and Founders Fund co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Y Combinator.
• Keatz, a network of ghost restaurants which cook exclusively for online orders (aka “cloud kitchens”), raised €12 million ($13.6 million) in funding. Investors include Project A Ventures, Atlantic Labs, UStart, K Fund and JME Ventures.
• Songtradr, a music licensing platform, raised $12 million in Series B funding. Richard White led the round.
• LogRocket, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of a performance management platform, raised $11 million in Series A funding in addition to its previously unannounced $4 million seed round. Battery Ventures led the Series A round, and was joined by investors including Matrix Partners.
• Jitjatjo, a New York-based platform that matches hospitality operators with industry professionals, raised $11 million in Series A funding. Morningside Technology Ventures led the round.
• HENRY The Dentist, a mobile dental practice, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Forerunner Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Brand Foundry and Trail Mix Ventures.
• Evolv Technology Solutions, a San Francisco-based autonomous optimization platform, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Horizons Ventures led the round.
• Amify, an Alexandria, Va.-based digital retail agency, raised $5.8 million in Series A funding. Mercury Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Dundee Venture Capital, CincyTech, SaaS Venture Capital and Capital One Co-Founder Nigel Morris.
• Maude, a New York-based sex essentials company, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Tune House Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including RRE, CASSIUS Family, Outbound Ventures, Shrug Capital, and Pico Alto Ventures.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Imago BioSciences Inc, a San Carlos, Calif.-based biotechnology company, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Omega Funds led the round, and was joined by investors including Frazier Healthcare Partners, Amgen Ventures, and MRL Ventures Fund, HighLight Capital, Pharmaron and Greenspring Associates.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Hunt Valve Co., which is backed by May River Capital, acquired Montreal Bronze Ltd, a supplier of bronze marine valves. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Energy Impact Partners invested in Attivo Networks, a provider of detection, forensics, and automated incident response to in-network attacks. Additional investors include Bain Capital, ForgePoint Capital, and Singtel Innov8. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Phillips & Temro Industries Inc, a Harbour Group company, acquired EVoCharge Inc,, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer and distributor of electric vehicle charging stations. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Inverness Graham Investments acquired Corsica Technologies, a Centreville, Md.-based provider of turnkey managed IT services, including systems monitoring, network management, help desk support, and onsite services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Pinterest, the social media pinboard, has reportedly sped up its IPO timeline and is now seeking to list mi-Aprilon the NYSE, the WSJ reports citing sources.
• Lion Air, the Indonesian carrier, is preparing for a $1 billion IPO in what is the nation’s largest offering, Bloomberg reports citing sources.
• Levi Strauss, the San Francisco-based jeans maker, raised $623 million in an IPO of of 36.7 million shares priced at $17, the top end of its range. It posted revenue of $5.8 billion in the year ending Nov. 2018 and income of $283 million. It plans to list on the NYSE as “LEVI.” Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, BofA Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Evercore ISI are underwriters. Read more.
• Guodong Group, a Chinese wireless infrastructure firm, is planning a Hong Kong IPO to raise about $300 million, Bloomberg reports citing sources. Read more.
• Alight, a Lincolnshire, Ill.-based human resources management software maker, postponed plans to raise $752 million in an IPO of 32 million shares priced between $22 to $25. It posted revenue of $1.7 billion in the nine months ending Sept. 2018 and loss of $39 million. Blackstone, New Mountain Capital, and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority back the firm. BofA Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, and Morgan Stanley were underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “ALIT.” Alight filed confidentially on October 2, 2018. Read more.
• Turning Point Therapeutics, an San Diego-based biotech developing tyrosine kinase inhibitors for cancer filed for a $100 million IPO. The firm posted loss of $24.8 million in 2018. Lilly Asia Ventures, OrbiMed, and venBio Partners back the firm. Goldman Sachs, SVB Leerink and Wells Fargo Securities are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “TPTX.” Read more.
• Yunji, a Hangzhou, China e-commerce site using social platforms to promote its products, filed for a $200 million IPO. It posted revenue of $1.9 billion in 2018 and loss of $335.7 million. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan and CICC are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “YJ.” Read more.
• Greenlane Holdings, a Boca Raton-based national distributor of vaporization products, filed for a $92 million IPO. It psed sales of $178.9 million in 2018 and loss of $5.9 million. Jacoby & Co. backs the firm. Cowen and Canaccord Genuity are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “GNLN.” Read more.
• Fastly Inc., a U.S. cloud services provider, has reportedly tapped Bank of America to lead an IPO that could value it at over $1 billion, Reuters reports citing sources.
• Neoenergia, Brazil’s power company, has tapped J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Banco do Brasil SA to lead its IPO, Reuters reports citing sources.
• Evolv Technology Solutions acquired Sentient Ascend, an autonomous experience optimization solution for websites and mobile applications, which spun off from Sentient Technologies Holdings Ltd. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.