Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Joe Tsai are pumping $20 million into Rent the Runway through their investment firm

Blue Pool Capital, a financial firm that principally invests the wealth of Alibaba founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, has invested $20 million into the women’s clothing rental business Rent the Runway, Recode has learned.
The filing was spotted by the research firm Lagniappe Labs, which said the round valued Rent the Runway, with the new funds, at a little less than $800 million.
Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman said her company, which is profitable on an Ebitda basis, was not planning on raising new funding but saw this as a rare opportunity at an advantageous time in the business’ lifecycle.
“I have huge respect for Joe and Jack and wanted to opportunistically involve them in the business as we embark on our biggest growth stage,” Hyman told Recode in an interview. “Given the global aspirations that we have — especially in Asia — I thought they would be very good people to have around the table.”
Rent the Runway last raised funds in late 2016, when it secured a $60 million Series E investment led by Fidelity. That deal valued the company at $750 million, according to PitchBook. To get this new deal done with little fuss, Hyman allowed Blue Pool to invest the new money at the same terms as that Series E deal, she said.
Rent the Runway was founded in 2009 as a service that allowed women to rent designer dresses for special events at a fraction of the cost of the retail purchase price. Over the last two years, though, the company has added a subscription model that lets women rent a rotating closet of clothing for everyday wear.
The obvious question: Does Tsai and Ma’s interest make Alibaba a likely suitor for Rent the Runway? Not exactly, according to Hyman.
“The more visionary, smart people who you have relationships with, it just opens up your optionality,” Hyman said. “It’s good for us whether we IPO, or we sell the business, or we stay private.”
We’ll discuss this and more with Hyman when she sits for an onstage interview at An Evening with Code Commerce at Shoptalk on March 20 in Las Vegas.
Correction: Though we were told by the company that Joe Tsai would take a board observer role, Rent the Runway now says that Blue Pool Capital has not yet decided which executive will take the position.

Trending News

Why Amazon’s Flipkart bid is just not high enough

Selling without MRP, expiry dates to cost etailers

TCS hits $100Bn market cap: A new phase for India Inc?

Snapdeal posts Rs 4,647 crore net loss in 2016-17

Flipkart-Walmart deal: What it means for the etailer and the whole industry

NCLAT stays CCI penalty of Rs 136cr on Google in search bias case

Walmart may rope in Google parent Alphabet for the Flipkart deal

Internet shutdown cost Indian economy $3 billion from 2012-17: Study

Flipkart and Amazon plan mega summer sales in May

International sales now account for 48% of Twitter's revenues

70% of mobile phones buyers in India opt for non-cash payments

Amazon India expects groceries & household products to account for 50% of business in 5 yrs

India to come out with a E-commerce policy framework in 6 months

Online learning platform Career Anna raises Rs 3 Cr funding

Wal-Mart will offer to buy up to 86% of Flipkart

Agritech startups Sabziwala and LivLush merge their business under new entity Kamatan

Avail Finance lands $17.2M from Matrix Partners & Ola, Freecharge and Flipkart founders

RBI suggests tax sops, self-regulation to build fintech space

Swiggy hires new CEO for its Access Service, gets new CFO

Logistics company Delhivery registers 44% increase in FY17 revenues

WeWork to acquire one of the oldest social networks, Meetup

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $103 billion offer

EasyRewardz gets $2 million Series-A funding

'Anemic' iPhone 8 demand drags Apple shares lower

Lending platform Lenden Club gets Rs 3.5cr in Equity Investment

On festive sales, Flipkart says 65% clients from Tier-II cities