The deal, which is for $9 million, has been accompanied by the requisite quotes about founder Sophia Amoruso’s talents as an “exceptional leader,” and her ability to grow the business from an Etsy store to a 100-person company with revenues of around $30 million last year. Stories seem to have focused on her rags-to-riches tale, or the rumor that lots of Silicon Valley investors were clamoring for a stake in the business.
Something else intrigued me, however: that this investment in Nasty Gal shows just how deep Index Ventures now is into the online fashion sector.
Index, which closed a growth fund worth nearly $700 million last year, has been putting cash into e-commerce for a long time. A big part of its strategy has always been fashion, with an early stake in Net-A-Porter and backing ASOS, the publicly-listed British retailer that’s making inroads into the American market.
Although ASOS is public, and Net-A-Porter exited in 2010, Index has continued to expand its fashion obsession with a string of significant investments in a spread of companies, including jewelry site AstleyClarke, fashion forecasting service EDITD, advice network GoTryItOn, style club StylistPick and boutique platform FarFetch — as well as tangential shopping investments such as Ozon.ru, Dropshop, NotOnTheHighStreet and Etsy.
In an interview last year, Index partner Ben Holmes told us how the company was focusing on e-commerce as one of the next major opportunities for its investments. And it still has a lot of other pots as well, across life sciences, business software, cloud and elsewhere. But just one look at the company’s portfolio, and you can see exactly how big they’re betting online fashion will be.