Condé Nast Reveals Investment In Jewellery Startup, As Media Scrambles For New Revenues

In yet another an indication that big media powerhouses are starting to refocus their businesses on driving new models like commerce, publishing giant Condé Nast has made what is understood to be its first investment in an e-commerce startup in Europe. Condé Nast Germany has invested in RenéSim, one of Europe’s first online jewellers in the luxury category. The premium publisher, best known for titles like Vogue magazine, said it had actually owned shares in the company since 2011, but has now raised its stake to 46% in a capital increase. Condé Nast already owns Reddit, although this is a publishing play, not e-commerce.

RenéSim is an online-only jeweller with no intermediate dealers and offers high-quality jewellery of all descriptions as well as custom-made jewellery, not unlike the UK-based startup Boticca, although the latter specialises in pushing its unique designers.

In a canned statement, Moritz von Laffert, managing director of Condé Nast Germany and VP of Condé Nast International said: “With its philosophy of unconditional quality and exclusivity and its discerning customer profile, RenéSim is perfectly suited to Condé Nast and our investment strategy.”

He also indicated that we haven’t seen the last of this investment philosophy: “We specifically target young, innovative businesses where we can contribute actively to a sustainable increase in value and which, as new business models, can provide meaningful additions to our media portfolio.” That’s a hint that there may be more acquisitions and investments to come.

Maximilian Hemmerle and Georg Schmidt-Sailer, the founders and Managing Directors of RenéSim said: “Condé Nast’s exclusive media brands give us valuable access to our hard to approach, discerning target group. In addition, with its worldwide presence and global brands, Condé Nast is the ideal partner for the continued internationalisation of our business model.”

Since Condé Nast’s investment in 2011, RenéSim claims its sales volume has quadrupled. In addition, the business expanded to France and the United Kingdom in 2012.

The move makes sense for Condé Nast, and is not unexpected from a publisher that can easily blur the the line between fashion editorial and commerce given that magazines like Vogue always offer information on where and how to buy the things it writes about.