Sydney-based online shoe store StyleTread has raised $12 million in a Series C funding round, with Starfish Ventures joining the likes of Lakestar and Nine Entertainment Co as an investor.
StyleTread was founded in 2010 by Mark Rowland and Bjorn Behrendt, who used incubation capital from Lakestar, a Zurich-based institutional fund that invests in internet companies.
Since then, it has grown to more than 70 staff and attracts more than one million visitors a month, with a 40% repeat buyer rate.
In May last year, the Nine Entertainment Company invested around $4 million in StyleTread, with the six-month-old business reportedly valued at $20 million.
Besides Starfish Ventures, other investors include corporate finance and investment company Adinvest.
All of these investors participated in the company’s $12 million Series C funding round. The latest round means StyleTread is now owned by a majority of Australian shareholders.
Based in Melbourne, Starfish Ventures is a venture capital firm with more than $400 million under management.
Starfish Ventures investment director Nick Pearce will be on the StyleTread board, joining board members from StyleTread, Lakestar, BrandsExclusive and Nine Entertainment Co.
According to Pearce, online retail in Australia has “exploded” over the past three years, and Starfish Ventures has spent some time looking for the right investment.
“StyleTread has had phenomenal success in the Australian online shoe market in the 15 months since its launch,” Pearce says.
“[This is due] to its excellent customer service, wide product offering and great team.”
StyleTread features more than 60,000 shoes from Australian and international designers, and has a 100% record delivering shoes within three working days to every state and territory.
It also offers a 100-day returns policy on all shoes nationwide. Earlier this year, it introduced a three-hour delivery within Sydney, and is launching next-day delivery in New Zealand.
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Rowland says Starfish Ventures has extensive operating and investment experience in the Australian market.
“This latest round of funding allows us to considerably expand the range… as well as explore adjacent geographic markets and fashion segments,” he says.
“We are also… extending our strong relationship with Nine Entertainment Co., especially around media innovations merging TV, print, online and mobile advertising campaigns.”