Co-founders of Refinery 29, an online fashion media and e-commerce company, Philippe Von Borries and Justin Stefano are widely regarded as digital pioneers, credited with being some of the first to converge content, community and commerce. Refinery 29 acquired start-up Socialbomb in May 2013 and was valued at $100 million later that year. In July 2013, a revamped website was unveiled featuring a new lifestyle based layout with added navigation and "shop it now" buttons. The site is built on underlying technology that reads user preferences and helps personalise content. Refinery29 had over 450 employees globally in 2017, with offices in London, LA and Berlin. In 2016, the company announced it had raised $45 million in a funding round led by Turner. As of 2017, it reached an audience of over 500 million globally across platforms.
Finance graduates from New York University and Columbia University respectively, Philippe and Justin launched the website in 2004 as a localised New York guide for independent boutiques and shops. Raising initial capital from retailer Steven Alan, owner of a Showroom boutique they had featured in their guide, the pair quickly created an online marketplace for New York based stores such as Atelier, Number Nine and In God We Trust. Strong advertising revenue bolstered the sites growth in the early years, while continued focus on creating unique editorial content with an emphasis on style, community and trending stories helped grow the sites popularity. In 2010, the duo also introduced vouchers and locally focused flash coupon sales.