Online retailer Nasty Gal has won $9m (£5.67m) investment from the UK venture capital business Index Ventures, joining a portfolio that also includes ASOS, Net-a-Porter and Etsy.
The funding, which gives Index’ Growth Fund a minority stake in the business, will be used to invest in its technology, operations, design and creative curation as the company prepares to expand globally.
Nasty Gal was started by San Francisco-based Sophia Amoruso on eBay in 2006, selling one-off items of vintage clothing that she found, styled, photographed and shipped around the world. Within 18 months she had designed and launched her own website, selling the pieces that she sourced herself alongside styles from domestic and international designers.
The company, named after a song by funk singer Betty Davis, wife of Miles Davis, has used social media and word-of-mouth to build a business whose revenues have grown by more than 500% a year to $28m (£17.66m) in 2011 and has more than 150,000 customers in more than 50 countries, including the UK. Some 35% of its business is now done outside the US, with Australia, the UK, Canada and Japan key markets. Nasty Gal has more than 200,000 Facebook fans, 30,000 Twitter followers and 50,000 Instagram followers.
“Nasty Gal has tapped into a unique fashion sensibility that has captured girls' imaginations globally and has inspired us to keep growing and stretching creatively,” said Amoruso.
“Our girls have an intriguing and audacious sense of style. For me, it wasn’t about raising capital, but about finding the right partner. Danny and Index were an obvious fit: the stars aligned and my decision was an easy one.”
Danny Rimer, partner at Index Ventures, said: "Sophia is an exceptional leader and entrepreneur who has bootstrapped Nasty Gal to where it is today. We look forward to helping her and the rest of the outstanding management team in this next phase of growth to fully capture the opportunity she uncovered starting in the thrift stores and flea markets of San Francisco. Nasty Gal is on its way to becoming a defining fashion brand.”
Index Ventures has in the last five years invested in brands including ASOS, Astley Clarke, etsy, Moleskine, Net-aPorter and Stylistpick.