NEW YORK, United States — Rent the Runway Inc. is close to raising new funding that would value the fashion start-up below its previous $1 billion valuation, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest company to offer a discount to private investors as the pandemic ravages retailers.
New York-based Rent the Runway is seeking at least $25 million in a funding round led by T. Rowe Price Group Inc., which would value the start-up at about $750 million, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The company’s plans aren’t final and may still change, the people said.
T. Rowe Price first invested in Rent the Runway last year as part of a $125 million round that valued the company at $1 billion. That fundraising round was co-led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures.
A representative for Rent the Runway declined to comment on the funding round. T. Rowe Price declined to comment.
Start-ups around the world have been trying to shore up funds and cutting jobs to survive the current economic uncertainty. A technology start-up serving the logistics industry, Samsara Networks Inc., saw its valuation shrink by almost $1 billion to $5.4 billion in a new funding round. Zeus Living Inc., a corporate-housing start-up backed by Airbnb Inc., raised money at roughly half the valuation it commanded five months ago.
Started in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss as a way for women to rent dresses for occasions like weddings, Rent the Runway expanded to everyday wear through subscriptions that allow members to fill their wardrobes with outfits for the work week.
All of the company’s brick-and-mortar locations are currently closed as non-essential business remain shuttered in many US states, according to its website.
Rent the Runway was plagued by service disruptions last year, ending up offering cash and refunds to customers who had orders canceled due to supply chain issues.
By Katie Roof