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Sequoia Capital China Acquires Majority Stake in We11done

The deal will help Seoul-based We11done to accelerate growth of its direct-to-consumer business across China, Europe and the US, BoF can reveal.
We11done co-founders, Hyejin Jung and Dami Kwon.
We11done co-founders Jessica (Hyejin) Jung and Dami Kwon are also behind the Seoul-based concept store Rare Market. (We11done)

Buzzy South Korean contemporary brand We11done is Sequoia Capital China’s latest fashion bet, following investments in Ami and Ssense last year.

The China-based investment firm that counts Vogue China’s former editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung among its partners announced Thursday it would acquire the brand for an undisclosed sum. Mirabaud Lifestyle Impact & Innovation, a European private equity fund, will become a minority shareholder in the company.

The deal will allow We11done, co-founded in 2015 by Jessica (Hyejin) Jung and Dami Kwon, to accelerate the growth of its direct-to-consumer business across China, Europe and the US, by leveraging Sequoia Capital China’s local and global networks and its expertise in technology and retail.

“Sequoia China’s investment is not just an investment. It means you can use quality resources and communities in many ways. We truly believe this partnership and investment will result in significant growth of the brand,” We11done chief operating officer, Sang Mo Kim, told BoF.

The investment is part of Sequoia Capital China’s ambition to bolster its fashion portfolio. Cheung joined the firm in February 2021, one month after it took a controlling stake in French fashion label Ami. In June, the firm took a minority stake in Ssense, a deal that valued the Canadian e-commerce platform at $4.1 billion.

“This partnership [with We11done], following our investments in Ami and Ssense, demonstrates our commitment to supporting visionary founders in fashion internationally with a unique attitude that speaks to youth everywhere around the world,” said Sequoia Capital China venture partner Cheung, highlighting the brand’s “subtle Asian aesthetics with vibrant international expressions.”

We11done’s Jung and Kwon are the duo behind Seoul’s Rare Market concept store, a magnet for affluent Gen-Z and Millennial cool hunters since it opened its doors in 2014. The pair will remain involved in the We11done business.

“The structure of our team will not change at all. We, as founders, will retain a significant stake in the company and will continue to pilot the brand’s artistic direction,” Kwon said.

Jung added that “Sequoia China has a completely different field of expertise to us [so] we expect [their] role to be in professional areas that we haven’t [already got] covered.”

One of those areas will be the China market, where We11done has a following among Gen-Z consumers, and some wholesale accounts, but not its own retail network or an official store on major platforms like Alibaba’s Tmall, for example.

“It is a very important market but it is also a market that must be accurately understood,” said Sang Mo Kim, adding that capital from the new deal will, in part, go towards building out a network of key opinion leaders (KOLs, as influencers are known in China) for We11done and enhancing its digital channels.

We11done, best known for its fresh contemporary styles and youthful approach to unisex design, has garnered an international celebrity following that is said to include Billie Eilish, Yang Mi and Angelababy. The brand is stocked at top-tier retailers globally, including Net-A-Porter, Browns and Luisa Via Roma.

Tamison O’Connor contributed to this article.

Learn more:

Ssense Raises Money from Sequoia at $4.1 Billion Valuation, Eyes Chinese Market

BoF can reveal the funding marks the first-ever external investment for the Montreal-based luxury e-commerce company, known for its curated selection of brands, ambitious editorial strategy and younger audience.

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