USA: WGSN Secures $20 Million in Financing
By just-style.com | 18 May 2000
Worth Global Style Network (www.WGSN.com), the leading B2B, world wide information source for the design, textile and style industries, today announced the closing of $20 million in its second round of financing.
Led by European venture capital firm ETF Group, with Nomura International as the placement agent, the round also included an investment from Europ@web, the Internet investment vehicle of Mr. Bernard Arnault. This also includes a follow-on investment from Nomura International. WGSN will use the new financing to further expand its operations and global expansion.
"With the breadth of our product, unique business model, experienced management team and strong financial backing, we're well positioned to be the definitive resource servicing the needs of today's fast moving fashion and style industries," said Julian Worth, joint CEO and co-founder of WGSN. "Our investors clearly recognize the tremendous potential we have to be a dominant force in enabling the style industries to integrate the use of the Internet into their business processes and benefit from the resulting efficiencies and cost savings."
WGSN offers a subscription based online service that enables industry professionals to follow trends around the world from the comfort of their desktop. The service has become the industry standard tool for the fashion and style industries. With over 300,000 pages of industry specific news and information, WGSN is one of the world's biggest business-to-business sites. Its subscriber base includes more than 500 of the world's leading fashion and style related companies. Following initial investment in June 1999, there has been significant acceleration in the company's growth. It currently has offices in 10 countries, with approximately 200 staff members worldwide.
Julian Worth said, "This new infusion of capital will enable us to further expand our content and to move into a number of exciting new areas. We will build on our position as market leader by adding greater depth to the product and stepping up our global marketing campaign to make WGSN.com the key Internet address for the industry professional."
One of WGSN's recent initiatives was the decision to give free site access to fashion and style students around the world (www.wgsn-edu.com). "There are several million students globally that will benefit from the use of WGSN," explained Marc Worth, joint CEO and co-founder of the company. "Fashion institutes, colleges and universities utilize WGSN to better prepare students for their future in the industry."
The company also has plans to introduce a unique industry-specific trading platform later this year.
"This is a significant investment for ETF Group. WGSN's founders have developed a robust business model and focused the company on a clearly defined space. They have created an online community of fashion industry professionals by delivering industry-specific, relevant and reliable information and services. We look forward to helping WGSN expand their international scope and scale of this exciting business," said Giorgio Ronchi, Chairman and CEO of ETF Group.
"WGSN clearly recognizes the importance of establishing itself as the new standard for the industry and has shown a commitment to doing so by aligning itself with colleges and universities around the world," added Bozkurt Aydinoglu of Nomura Technology Principal Investment Group.
About WGSN's Investors
Nomura International plc is the wholly-owned European subsidiary of The Nomura Securities Co., Ltd. one of the world's largest investment banks with shareholders' equity of US$11 billion. It specializes in the origination, underwriting and trading of securities and is a market leader in finance for the technology and healthcare sectors. The Technology Principal Investment Group has a strong track record of successful investment in innovative technology companies.
ETF Group is a value-added European venture capital firm with investments in a portfolio of Internet and Internet-related companies based in Europe and the United States. The company focuses on e-commerce, particularly B2B enabling technologies and services including broadband and wireless, and targets selected vertical markets including financial services, new media and logistics. Previous investments include The Fantastic Corporation (Neuer Markt: FAN) and Commerce One (NASDAQ:CMRC), 2Bridge, Calatog-International, Essential.com, Firetalk Communications, Intuit Services Europe, Minerva Networks, Travelstore.com and TheStreet.com (Europe). As a result of this investment Giorgio Ronchi, Chairman and CEO of ETF Group, will join the WGSN board of directors.
Europ@web is the Internet arm of Bernard Arnault's family holding company. With 500 million Euros at its disposal, Europ@web's mission is to group together or manage Internet-related companies with strong growth potential, be they European or American. Entities in which
Europ@web has invested recently include MuseumNetworks, PlanetRx, Camdens and Oxygen Media in the U.S. Under the direction of Chahram Becharat, the European team of Europ@web contributed to the creation of Liberty Surf, the free Internet access provider, set up the financial portal ZeProject and took a majority stake in Aucland, one of the leading online auction sites in Europe. Europ@web is integrating its long-term strategic vision through majority or minority stakes in companies such as WineandCo, Alafoliem Moonfruit, Imediation and Netvalue. As a result of this investment Mr. Francois Tison, Senior Investment Manager of Europ@web, will join the WGSN board of directors.
Launched in 1998, WGSN is a subscription-based service providing global news and information to the style industries. Its clients include leading companies in the apparel manufacturing and retailing sectors as well as industries as diverse as cosmetics, electrical appliances and the automobile industry. WGSN's network of journalists and designers spans the globe and the company aims to provide the definitive resource for any professional associated with the style industry. Headquartered in London, the company operates through several overseas offices including additional content bureaus in New York and Tokyo. WGSN is a privately held, venture-backed company. Founded in 1998, the company obtained its first substantial financing from Nomura International in June 1999. More information about the company can be found on its web site at www.WGSN.com.
WGSN's clients include leading names in the fashion industry including Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Levi Strauss, Liz Claiborne, Gap Inc and El Corte Ingles.
View next/previous articles
18 May 2000 -
Currently reading -
USA: WGSN Secures $20 Million in Financing
18 May 2000 -