Alibaba Founders Take $20 Million Stake In Rent The Runway

  • March 12, 2018 at 9:15 PM EDT
  • By Glenn Taylor
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Rent the Runway has received a $20 million investment from Blue Pool Capital, a fund that invests the wealth of Alibaba founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, according to a report in Recode. This financing round values Rent the Runway at slightly under $800 million, according to research firm Lagniappe Labs.

Rent the Runway was already profitable on an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) basis, and Co-Founder/CEO Jennifer Hyman wasn’t planning on looking for new capital. The company’s last fundraising round was in 2016, when it secured a $60 million Series E investment led by Fidelity. However, Hyman saw the involvement of Alibaba’s founders as a unique opportunity for the retailer.

“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,” said Hyman in an interview with Recode. “Given the global aspirations that we have — especially in Asia — I thought they would be very good people to have around the table.”

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While this deal involves the personal fortunes of the Alibaba founders, the company also has been flexing its financial muscles. Alibaba’s recent string of investments includes a 15% stake in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing for approximately $867 million, and a 38% stake in big data retail firm Shiji Retail Information Technology for $486 million.

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