The RealReal ropes in $50 million in new funding
The RealReal, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based company focused on authenticated, high-end resale items for women, men, and the home, has landed $50 million in growth funding from the private equity firm Great Hill Partners.
The round, which brings the company’s total funding to $173 million, did not include previous backers; a spokeswoman for the company says Great Hill “wanted all of the investment.”
The cash infusion comes at an important juncture for The RealReal, which now employs more than 800 people and has pushed out the time by which it will turn profitable, setting its sights instead on spreading brand awareness by expanding its physical footprint.
Already, the company has opened six valuation offices in the last 18 months, including in San Francisco, New York, L.A., Chicago, and Washington, D.C. The spaces enable consignors to consult directly with valuation experts about their fine jewelry and watches.
Last month, in a sit-down with this editor in San Francisco, CEO Julie Wainwright said that The RealReal is also weighing a strategy of opening a series of brick-and-mortar stores, starting first with one New York location that a RealReal spokeswoman says is still being locked down and should be open for business in late fall or early winter this year.
The company decided to move part of its business offline following the success of a pop-up store that it set up in New York’s Soho neighborhood for two weeks last December. According to Wainwright, the store generated more than $2 million revenue, and half the shoppers were new to the company.
“Some had heard of us but they hadn’t shopped because they didn’t understand the quality.” That changed when they saw firsthand what the brand is selling, she’d said. “When you have 100 Birkins on the wall and people have never seen that — even at Hermes — they tend to call their friends.”
In our recent interview, Wainwright told us that 80 percent of The RealReal’s shoppers are women, with men mostly buying watches and leather goods for themselves. She also said that for every four buyers, The RealReal has one consignor — and that half of these consignors also buy goods on the site. (The RealReal, began with, and still predominately sells, women’s high-end apparel.) Not last, she said the company is on track to see $500 million in merchandise sold through the platform this year.
The RealReal’s newest round comes on the heels of a $40 million Series E round that the company closed last year and which was led by Greenspring Associates. Others of its earlier investors include Broadway Angels, Next Equity, Springboard Fund, Canaan Partners, e.ventures, Greycroft Partners, InterWest Partners, DBL Partners, and Industry Ventures.