Summary:

With daily deal and discount luxury sites popping up practically every day, Gilt Groupe, one of the pioneers in the space, is hoping to stay…

Kevin Ryan and Susan Lyne, Gilt Groupe

With daily deal and discount luxury sites popping up practically every day, Gilt Groupe, one of the pioneers in the space, is hoping to stay ahead of the pack with a whopping $138 million funding. The funding is part of an expansion plan that has the company extending its presence to Japan and looking for other companies to buy in the online deals space.

A large chunk of the funding this time has come from Softbank Group, the Japanese telecom/media company, which invested $62.5 million into Gilt. With this funding, Softbank has also entered into a joint venture with Gilt in Japan, representing a 50 percent stake for SOFTBANK Group in that business.

Gilt’s other backers invested a total of $75.5 million into the company in the U.S. The previous investors include General Atlantic and Matrix Partners. They were joined by a new group of backers including Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth, Pinnacle Ventures, TriplePoint Capital and Eastward Capital.

With today’s funding, Gilt has raised a total of $240 million. The New York company opened for business in November 2007. Then, Gilt was singularly known as an invitation-only site for discounted luxury women’s apparel and accessories. Over the course of the next two years, it started business lines in home furnishings, kids, men’s attire, along with a vacation travel site called Jetsetter and a local deals site Gilt City.

In the next several months, Gilt will launch a gourmet food site as well as a full-price men’s online retail store as the company continues to expand beyond its original business of discounted apparel and accessories through the “flash sales” model. More acquisitions are also part of the plans for the next few months.

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