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Lyst wins $40m injection for foreign growth

Fashion ecommerce platform Lyst has raised $40m (£26m) in its latest round of fundraising from investors including fashion house LVMH’s controlling shareholder Groupe Arnault, early Facebook backer Accel Partners and one of Italian etailer Yoox’s investors, Balderton Capital.

The funding will be used to further expand the website’s reach internationally and to take on more staff across both its London and New York offices.

Other funders to have invested in Lyst in the Series C Round of funding – which is the third round of venture capital financing available for businesses that have proven their success in a market and are now looking to expand – include Skype investor and venture capitalist DFJ, New York-based venture capitalist 14W and an unnamed New York-based hedge fund.

Chris Morton, co-founder and chief executive of Lyst, told Drapers that he will use the investment to expand the firm internationally, with plans to open Canadian and Australian websites in the next six weeks and then foreign language websites – including Chinese and German – in the second half of this year.

Lyst, which sells products from more than 11,000 designers and stores including Burberry, Topshop and Neiman Marcus, launched its UK website in March. Around 70% of its trade is currently in the US, followed by 20% in Europe and 10% in Asia.

The ecommerce site plans to boost its staff from the current 80 workers it has – with 70 in London and 10 in New York – to around 150 by the end of the year across both cities. The focus will be on bringing in marketing, engineering, software development and product management roles.

Morton added that he would not rule out Lyst considering pop-up space in London to better showcase its offer, while the site is also looking at ways to offer its shoppers greater information and advice via their smartphones when physically shopping on the high street about where the best stores are.

According to Lyst, consumers from 154 countries have shopped on the site in the last three months. The firm’s gross merchandise volume increased from $40m (£26m) to $150m (£98m) in the year to April 29, 2015. It now has 3 million monthly unique users.

Lyst has now raised $60m (£39m) to date.

Morton added: “Our model has grown exponentially in the USA and UK, and this round of funding allows us to take Lyst to fashion consumers around the world. We are already seeing a higher conversion by as much as five times through our universal cart [which enables shoppers to checkout from different retailers in one page] – its widespread adoption by the industry’s leading brands and stores is a testament to the unique platform we have built and the volumes of sales it is generating.”

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