Nine United, a privately held family of companies has acquired Peak Capital’s portfolio company Flinders, a premium furniture retailer in the Netherlands and Belgium. This acquisition marks the first exit for the Amsterdam-based VC firm Peak Capital in 2021.
The Dutch company sold 100 per cent of the Flinders shares from management and external investors RTL Ventures and Peak Capital.
Notably, the VC firm is known for its strong track record with over 20 investments including IENS (exit to Tripadvisor in 2015), Radionomy (exit to Vivendi in 2016), CheapCargo (exit to PostNL in 2017), and Catawiki.
Through this transaction, Flinders became part of Nine United Ecommerce, a company of Nine United A/S from Denmark. As per the company’s claims, the takeover was made based on positive advice from the works council.
According to Business.gov.nl, the works council is made up of employees, who get involved with decisions about the running of the company. It promotes and protects the interests of the employees in the company. As per the Dutch Works Councils Act, “Any entrepreneur carrying on an enterprise in which normally at least 50 persons are working shall, in the interests of the proper functioning of the enterprise with respect to all its objectives, establish a Works Council in order to ensure the proper consultation and representation of the persons working in the enterprise, and in order to be able to comply with any requirements of or pursuant to this Act that relate to the said Works Council.”
Oscar Diele appointed as CEO
The founder of Flinders, Geert-Jan Smits resigned his position to start an innovative and sustainable initiative within the furniture industry. Notably, COO Oscar Diele succeeds Geert-Jan Smits as CEO of Flinders.
“We believe Flinders is an excellent fit for the Nine United group,” saysOscar Diele. “We share the same values and beliefs that you can only achieve great results with people who are passionate about. Now that we are part of Nine United, we can continue our success in the Benelux.”
Nine United family
With 120 employees, the company also confirmed that it continues to operate as a local company and brand within the Nine United family. The Zaandam-based company has more than 36,000 furniture, design lamps, and home accessories in its range.
On the other side, Nine United Ecommerce is the e-commerce arm of Nine United A/S. It currently comprises three leading online furniture stores within the home & living segment: AmbienteDirect, Connox (both located in Germany), and Flinders.
Invested in Open Social and Stack
Amsterdam-based Peak Capital is a venture capital firm which provides smart capital and pro-active hands-on support to fast-growing highly-scalable marketplaces, SaaS or data startups. Established in 2007, Peak Capital manages 4 funds, with the first 3 funds being fully invested. Its co-founders are Heleen Dura – van Oord, Johan van Mil, Stefan Bary, and Hein Siemerink.
Peak Capital’s previous investments include successful exits such as IENS (acquired by Tripadvisor, NASDAQ: TRIP), Radionomy (acquired by Vivendi, EURONEXT: VIV), Cheapcargo (acquired by PostNL, AMS: PNL) and OneFit, which recently merged with German Urban Sports Club to become the largest sports and fitness platform in Europe.
Back in December 2020, the Dutch VC firm invested in Open Social, a community-building platform and marketplace, and Stack, a startup that aims to build the first tab-less browser or as they call it Operating System for the Internet.
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Urban Outfitters has expanded its partnership with CB4, an artificial intelligence (AI) software company, by rolling its software out to all 200 North American stores after a successful pilot.
Read more here.
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If a business model has to be successful, it has to evolve along the lines of the current market trend and technology. Right now, the fashion industry, a hotbed for innovation, is looking to capitalise on two trends – sustainability and digitalisation, owing to the economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resale market industry on rise
Talking about sustainability, second-hand fashion has been playing an integral role in reducing the massive carbon footprint of the fashion industry. According to the UN, the fashion industry is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
The second-hand market, especially for clothes, has been on the rise for sometime fuelled by various factors along with the desire to be part of the long-term solution to fashion waste. As per the report, the resale market industry is projected to more than double in size by 2022.
Dozens of startups have already mushroomed to tap into this billion-dollar opportunity in selling pre-owned branded and designer apparel. Headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania, Vinted is one of the biggest companies in Europe dedicated to second-hand fashion and is Lithuania’s first unicorn. Recently, the online C2C marketplace acquired United Wardrobe, the largest second-hand fashion platform in the Netherlands.
Second-hand clothing is the new norm
With the acquisition, both the companies now have a member base of 34 million buyers and sellers across 11 countries in Europe. Together they will continue their mission of making second-hand clothing the new norm – and the fashion industry more sustainable as a result. Following the acquisition, the founders of United Wardrobe will take on leadership positions within Vinted. Besides further growth in the continent, Vinted is also looking outside Europe.
Founded in 2014, United Wardrobe is the leading marketplace for buying and selling second-hand fashion in the Netherlands. Sjuul Berden, Thijs Slijkhuis and Thijs Verheul launched United Wardrobe out of university after Berden saw his younger sisters struggle with overflowing wardrobes.
With an investment of €1M led by Peak Capital in 2017, United Wardrobe further established its market in the Netherlands and expanded into Belgium and France. Currently, they serve around 4 million users.
On the other hand, Vinted was founded in 2008 in Lithuania by Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas, and joined by first investor and COO Mantas Mikuckas in 2011. Right now, the company serves around 30 million users spanning 12 markets: France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Luxembourg, UK, and the USA.
Raised €221M funding
To date, Vinted has raised $ 260.3M (approx €221M) from five leading venture capital firms: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel, Insight Venture Partners, Burda Principal Investments, and Sprints Capital. The European startup is headquartered in Vilnius, with offices in Berlin and Prague. The company currently has over 500 employees, and is led by its CEO Thomas Plantenga.
Main image credits: United Wardrobe
Today Vinted, Europe’s largest online C2C marketplace dedicated to second-hand fashion, has announced the acquisition of United Wardrobe, the largest second-hand fashion platform in the Netherlands. The transaction will enable the combined group to accelerate its rapid expansion to new markets and extend its international footprint. With a combined member base of 34 million buyers…