Fashion rental startup Style Theory secures US$15M funding led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, eyeing expansion
Southeast Asia-targeted fashion rental startup Style Theory has announced the closing of its Series B round, TechCrunch has learned. It closes US$15 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, the early-stage venture arm of SoftBank Group, with participation from Alpha JWC Ventures and The Paradise Group.
SoftBank Ventures Asia and Alpha JWC Ventures have previously participated in Style Theory’s Series A round, have made a comeback this time.
The company said that it plans to use part of the funding for developing its tech platform. The company also plans to start using RFID tagging and will attach passive RFID tags on each of its rental items to manage its inventory.
Style Theory was founded in 2016 by Raena Lim and Chris Halim with a mission to “counteract the waste created by fast fashion” through its app. It claims to store more than 50,000 pieces of clothing and 2,000 designer bags ready for rent.
“Style Theory uses machine-learning algorithms to personalise clothing and fit recommendations for users based on their browsing and rental history and decide which designers and styles to carry,” said Lim and Halim in an email interview with TechCrunch.
The startup also has its customised warehouse management system and distribution network using its own fleet of couriers to lower costs. Its app also includes different payment options because of the relatively lower credit card penetration rates in Southeast Asia.
Last month, the company also opened a flagship store on Orchard Road in Singapore.
Often being compared with the likes of Rent the Runway, Style Theory’s focus remains to serve the Southeast Asia market and it sets the startup apart, Lim and Halim say. Taking into account their target markets that often work longer hours and using mainly public transportation for deliveries, its brick-and-mortar store has partnered with automated locker providers, co-working spaces, and department stores for customers’ convenience.
Style Theory’s inventory is also curated with a diverse style of its customers, such as a formal and modest style for workplace and social settings, as well as the region’s tropical climate.
“We have introduced a line up of modest wear in Indonesia and more festive wear during the celebratory seasons in the year,” said Lim and Halim.
Style Theory said its subscribers rent up to 20 pieces of clothing and two designer bags a month on average. Lim and Halim add that the next plan is to launch new apparel categories in Singapore and Indonesia, before possibly expanding into more countries in 2020.