NYC high-end fashion startup Material Wrld bags $9M series B from Start Today, Nissay



See the original story in Japanese.

Based out of New York City, Material Wrld provides a high-end marketplace for used clothes. Launched in 2012, the company avails a secondary circulation focused on luxury fashion items. Women can thus update the content of their closet according to events and seasonal changes.

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The company announced on Wednesday that it has secured $9 million from Start Today (TSE:3092) and Nissay Capital in a series B round. Start Today is a Tokyo company behind Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce site Zozotown, while Nissay Capital is the investment arm of a leading Japanese insurance company which participated in the previous funding round. With the latest funding, the American company has secured a total of $13 million to date.

In October of 2015, Materal Wrld unveiled a prepaid debit card for luxury shoppers called Material Wrld Fashion Trade-In Card. Through the Discover Card network, this card allows users to buy new clothes at more than 700 fashion retailers both online and offline using trade-in values they got upon selling their used clothes, handbag and shoes to Material Wrld. Available retailer chains include Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Intermix and Seven Alan.

Since Material Wrld clienteles using this card buy new items worth 2.5 times more than what they have sold, the company has received high praise from department stores because of the win-win situation created for both these stores and the clienteles. Going forward, the company wants to expand awareness of the unique debit card system in the fashion industry.

Material Wrld founders: Rie Yano (left) and Jie Zheng (right)

Material Wrld co-counder Rie Yano and Jie Zheng offered their comment in a statement upon unveiling a new platform they are currently working on:

We will launch a new online platform in the US in several months from now. It will be a one-stop solution that allows people to submit their luxury brand items for trade-in, purchase new brand arrivals as well as second-hand items situated in others’ “closets.”

This is the first investment in the North American market for Start Today. This company wants to not only provide financial cooperation but also explore cross-border synergy in global business operations by sharing the experience of their secondhand fashion commerce service Zozoused in addition to leveraging the brand image and the vast network of Material Wrld.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy