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Index hands $9m to US brand Nasty Gal

Index Ventures, the fund manager that focuses on emerging fashion e-tailers, has invested $9m (£5.7m) in US etailer Nasty Gal.

The Index Growth Fund’s portfolio includes websites such as Asos, Net-a-Porter and Etsy, and its minority investment in Nasty Gal will be used to boost areas such as technology, operations and editorial design, as the brand prepares to expand internationally.

According to Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso, technology will be a key focus for further expansion. In addition, the company is looking to employ a number of senior-level directors, including VPs of engineering and finance.

It is also relaunching its website this week, is due to roll out a new magazine-style blog in a month, and will move to new offices in Los Angeles by the end of the year.

Since its inception in 2006 as an eBay store selling vintage clothing, Nasty Gal has grown organically, with revenues increasing more than 500% every year to $28m (£17.7m) in 2011.

Amoruso developed the brand by sourcing and curating new products and boosting her customer base through word-of-mouth and the use of social media. It currently has more than 200,000 Facebook fans and around 30,000 Twitter followers

This week’s announcement marks the first outside investment, and according to Amoruso, the deal was “less about taking the money from Index”, but rather about the opportunity to tap into Index’s expertise.

“We love our international customers, but haven’t had the time or resources to improve in the ways that we would like to,” she added. “Understanding international logistics on a deeper level is something that Index can help us with.”

Nasty Gal has over 150,000 customers in more than 50 countries, with 35% of sales coming from outside the US, and the UK among the top three international markets for the brand.

“We want to find ways to serve our international customers faster and better and be as inclusive as we can,” said Amoruso.

The company is also planning to launch events and pop up shops over the coming year to “engage with customers in the real world”, she added.

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