28-Aug-2013 | By: Jessica Iredale at Women's Wear Daily Back to News
NEW YORK — The Runthrough closed its seed investment round of fund-raising Tuesday, securing $1.2 million in funding led by the New York Angels, an independent group of more than 75 individual accredited angel investors. The round also included strategic investors Elsa Berry, managing director and founder of Vendôme Global Partners; Karen Harvey of Karen Harvey Consulting, and Paul Sethi, chief executive officer of Redbooks, an advertising and agency database, and an active angel investor in New York.
Sethi’s investments include LearnVest, a personal finance site, and UpNext, a 3-D mapping start-up that was acquired by Amazon last year.
Founded in 2011 by Meggan Crum and Mandy Tang, both former accessories editors who met while working at W magazine in 2004, The Runthrough is a digital showroom that connects designers and brands with fashion media, such as editors, stylists, digital media and regional publications. The original idea was to eliminate the tedious and time-consuming traditional task of calling in merchandise and images for editorial shoots, whereby editors sift through look books and arrange pickups and deliveries by sending dozens of e-mails. The Runthrough allows designers and labels to upload their accessories collections to the site, where editors can click to request samples or high-resolution images much in the way a consumer would shop e-commerce. All products are categorized and tagged, and requests are sent directly to designers’ in-boxes from the editor. The brands can create digital loan forms, track the status of products and download reports.
The members-only site currently features 100 designers, both established (Michael Kors) and emerging (Pamela Love), and brands that can be accessed by more than 400 editors from publications including Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, with 40 percent of the site’s activity generated by international users.
“It’s a very innovative, efficient and scalable platform that really helps both sides of the equation, answers a real problem and brings a solution to brands, editors and stylists,” said Berry, whose investment is personal, although she noted that The Runthrough has potential to grow into a Vendôme Global Partners client. “What we see in the business is the ability down the road to aggregate and get data in a very unique way. You can see what the most sought-after brands, products types, categories and trends are. That’s a very powerful tool.”
Crum and Tang plan to use to the funding to expand infrastructure, including five recent hires. “After proving the concept, we knew there was traction,” said Tang. “We’re in growth mode. We want to expand into new categories. We’re in accessories, and we want to expand into ready-to-wear. We’re going to build out technology to service new designers, and develop new tools to empower designers with their own data.”