LONDON, May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Boticca.com (http://boticca.com/), the first global online destination for accessories that connects customers directly with top independent designers all over the world, today announced plans for further international growth with the close of a US$2.5 million funding round from retail, luxury and e-commerce heavyweights. The investment was led by ISAI (http://www.isai.fr/in_a_nutshell/about_us.html) , a fund comprised of 70 of the most successful Internet entrepreneurs in France, including founders of Vente Privee and Priceminister, and joined by Annoushka Ducas and John Ayton, the founders and former owners of Links of London and current owners of Annoushka Jewellery; prominent Silicon Valley investors, led by Bobby Yazdani, founder and CEO of Saba (NASDAQ: SABA) and an early investor in Google; and Digital Garage, the Japanese Internet incubator whose investment portfolio also includes Twitter.
Boticca.com's team, led by co-founders Kiyan Foroughi and Avid Larizadeh, is revolutionizing the global accessories e-tail experience for designers and customers alike. They put customers directly in touch with hand-selected emerging jewelry and accessories designers from all over the world in a curated, editorialized marketplace. For the first time in a luxury environment, independent designers make the lion's share of the economics without the impervious distribution channels and mark-up traditionally associated with the retail experience, whilst benefiting from having their individual brands at the forefront of Boticca.com's business.
The site combines the advantages of the marketplace model, including community engagement, negative working capital and no inventory, with the strength of the traditional retail model in branding, curation and merchandising control. Boticca.com's disruptive approach has allowed it to quickly build a scalable global business, whilst maintaining the authenticity and quality of the designers and accessories it presents.
Since its public launch in October 2010, Boticca.com has already achieved traction from celebrities, royalty and customers spread evenly across North America, Europe and the rest of the world, primarily in the Middle East and Japan, who spend above US$164 per transaction. Sixty per cent of all transactions are intercontinental, enabling emerging designers to reach a global customer base from the get-go. Customers can read the stories behind over 4,000 accessories, interact with and buy directly from the 180 handpicked designers in more than 30 countries.
The profile of the investors mirrors the team's global ambition to build a brand combining e-commerce and merchandising expertise with a deep sense of creativity and luxury. The Series A investment will enable Boticca.com to accelerate its growth by expanding its marketing efforts, enhancing the customer experience and bringing new talent on board. As part of the deal, Jean-David Chamboredon of ISAI joins the board of directors, alongside Olivier Mathiot, co-founder of and VP of Marketing for Priceminister, France's leading e-commerce marketplace; and John Ayton, who brings 20 years of jewelry retail and luxury experience.
Mr. Chamboredon, CEO of ISAI, said: "Boticca.com is ISAI's first investment outside of France and fits perfectly with our investment mandate. The market opportunity is huge, current momentum is impressive, and we're very familiar with the business model. We look forward to helping the company reach its great ambition."
Mr. Ayton said: "I meet many new talented designers who struggle to find a marketplace for their fabulous work in an industry which is often quite conservative. Boticca.com offers emerging designers the opportunity to engage with a global audience and has the power to unlock great potential in a very fragmented marketplace."
"Today, people are looking for meaning and authenticity in everything they do, and this extends to what they choose to wear," said Mr. Foroughi, CEO and co-founder. "Accessories add that touch of uniqueness to an outfit, and no one should have to settle for skillfully-marketed, impersonal, mass-produced products. It is incredibly rewarding to empower independent creative professionals to find a commercial outlet and receive the recognition they deserve on a global scale for their exquisitely unique work."
Boticca.com (http://boticca.com/)) is the global online destination for accessories that connects customers directly with top independent designers all over the world. Boticca.com makes it easier and more enjoyable for customers to discover high-quality, unique designer jewelry (http://Boticca.com/jewelry/), bags (http://Boticca.com/bags/) and accessories (http://Boticca.com/accessories/) with a meaningful story. The marketplace is curated and edited by a team of fashion influencers, who illustrate the stories and inspiration behind the collections on the site. With headquarters in London, Boticca.com has handpicked more than 180 emerging designers from over 30 countries and offers a selection of more than 4,000 pieces of jewelry and fashion accessories.