Red-hot, Alley-based, high-fashion-sample-sale e-commerce start-up Gilt Groupe just raised a $5 million Series A round from Matrix Partners. We’re conflicted on this one from head to toes, so we’ll let Gilt tell its own story:
Today Gilt Groupe (www.gilt.com), which brings invitation only ‘sample sales’ to its national membership, announced that it has secured $5.0 million in financing from top venture capital firm Matrix Partners.. The ‘sample sale’, a New York phenomenon where consumers line up around the block on a single day to buy top designer items at steep discounts, is now available for the first time online and to shoppers nationally through Gilt Groupe.
Gilt Groupe was founded in mid 2007 by CEO Alexis Maybank [above left], former eBay and AOL executive, and CMO Alexandra Wilkis Wilson [above right], former Louis Vuitton and Bulgari executive. Gilt Groupe features up to three top designer sales per week, and each sale lasts just one day on its website. The Company features brands from American designers like Zac Posen and Marchesa to Italian designers like Alessandro Dell’Acqua.
Working directly with the designer or brand, Gilt Groupe ensures the best product mix and often showcases top end designers who never discount their products or sell online. Membership is by referral, and there is no fee associated with joining Gilt Groupe. The existing membership base hails from all 50 states and since the Company’s November launch multiple thousands of members join daily.
“Consumers flock en masse to New York sample sales and are passionately committed to their favourite brands,” explained Maybank. “Gilt Groupe brings the sample sale phenomenon and hard-to-access brands to all consumers nationally for the first time, and we offer the sales exclusively online. Consumers who have always heard of ‘sample sales’, but have never been able to attend one, can now do so through our site”.
As a result of the financing, Nicholas Beim, General Partner at Matrix Partners, will join the board of directors of Gilt Groupe.