AmEx Backs The Netflix For Designer Clothes, Rent The Runway

Back in November, we wrote that Rent The Runway, a Netflix for designer clothes, accessories and jewelry, had raised $20 million in funding led by Condé Nast Publications, with Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers participating. The company is announcing an additional $4.4 million in new funding from new investor American Express and Novel TMT Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to $54 million.

Rent The Runway allows women to rent designer clothes and accessories at a marked down price. Once you pick a design on the site that you’d like to wear, you can schedule a delivery date. Rent The Runway will send two sizes, to ensure that you receive a dress that fits. Rentals on the site run from $50 to $200 for a four night loan, or 10% of the retail price.

The startup has over 3 million members and 170 designer brands, and recently introduced the first-ever online social shopping platform – Our Runway – which allows women to shop based on user-generated photos of real women with similar body types. The flagship feature of the launch is a Find Women Like Me tool, which allows women to enter their height, bust size, dress size and age, in order to view thousands of diverse women with comparable shapes in dresses available for rent.

CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman tells us that the new funding made sense from both a strategic point of view and also from a financial perpective. The funding will be used to hire key executives within the company, in addition to backing marketing and inventory investments.

Ed Gilligan, Vice Chairman of American Express commented in a release, “American Express is committed to being an enabler of commerce, and we recognize that Rent the Runway is delivering a creative commerce solution to a consumer need in a way that’s simple, seamless and scalable.”

Novel TMT Ventures investments include Warby Parker, Business of Fashion, Moda Operandi, Dailylook, Context Logic, Playspan, Facebook, Delivery Hero and Skrill.

Hyman adds that the company is also exploring the possibility of expanding offline retail offerings, and pop up shops.

Conde Nast has been doubling down on the fashion and e-commerce investments of late. The publishing giant backed Farfetch, a London-based online marketplace for independent boutiques. There are all sorts of cross-marketing partnerships that Rent The Runway and Conde Nast could work together on when it comes to fashion and lifestyle. Back in November, Hyman has explained that that Rent The Runway provides broader access to the aspirational luxury fashion that the publishing house promotes via its flagship titles, like Vogue and Lucky.