ThirdLove, the direct-to-consumer lingerie startup, gets a $55M boost

Direct-to-consumer startups — making products that leverage the internet to bypass third-party marketplaces and retailers to engage with and sell directly to their customers — have been one of the biggest categories of growth in the world of e-commerce, and today one of the startups that helped create and prove the model is announcing a big round of funding to take its business to the next stage.
ThirdLove, which started with bras and now makes and sells a variety of lingerie and underwear catering to a wide variety of women’s shapes and sizes — in part through technology it initially developed that used a smartphone camera to size and suggest products — has raised $55 million in funding.
Co-CEO Heidi Zak, who co-founded the company with husband David Spector who the co-CEO (both are ex-Google execs), said in an interview that the money will be used to help ThirdLove add even more sizes beyond the 78 that are offered today (“a bra for every body” is the expression she uses); as well as grow into three new areas: retail, international markets and category expansion into areas such as swim and athletic wear.
Not all of these may be coming online in the next year, she added, but the money will go towards building strategies in all three.
This round bumps ThirdLove’s valuation up to over $750 million, according to a source. That’s a huge boost considering that the startup has only raised around $68 million since being founded in 2013. ThirdLove is already generating over $100 million in revenues annually, and has seen some 12 million women to date have used Fit Finder, its online tool that determines the right size bra for the shopper.
As impressive as that valuation sounds, so is the list of backers in this latest cash infusion. It’s being co-led by L. Catterton, which is owned in part by the luxury goods conglomerates LVMH and Groupe Arnault; and investment bank Allen & Company. But also participating are Anne Wojcicki, the cofounder and CEO of 23andMe; her sister Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube; broadcaster Katie Couric; Nancy Peretsman, MD of Allen & Company; Tim Armstrong, former CEO of Oath and AOL (who himself is making a big move now into DTC); Jeff Keswin; Michael Zeisser, former US chairman at Alibaba; Felicis Ventures and Valor Equity. (Existing investors include Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Yuri Milner and Keith Rabois.)
“I’m a big fan of ThirdLove’s mission to build a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” said Anne Wojcicki in a statement. “ThirdLove promotes reality over fantasy and shows the spectacular beauty of all sizes, shapes and colors of women.”

“ThirdLove is the triple threat,” added Tim Armstrong in an email to me. “They have great margins, own the entire customer relationship and the full stack of data behind it, and they’re in a low competition category serving the largest customer base of commercial people – women.” (Armstrong had been Spector’s boss at Google.)
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