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NYC’s next billion-dollar startup: Fab raises $150M at $1B valuation

After pivoting away from flash sales and toward its own products, New York City-based Fab has just raised a huge amount of funding to help drive its transformation and support its fast-growing audience.

Fab announced last night that it has raised $150 million in a fourth round of funding led by Chinese company Tencent, who’s also appointing a director to the company’s board. The company’s valuation, excluding the new funding, was $1 billion, a spokesperson told AllThingsD. The funding is only the first tranche of Fab’s fourth round, so expect to see even more money rolling in soon.

Overall, Fab has now raised $310 million. The company has 14 million members signed up who have purchased around 6 million items.

Fab started out as a social network for gay men, but, embracing the power of the pivot, it jumped onto the flash-sale craze to expand its audience. Now Fab is focusing on becoming a design store of its very own — with exclusive products, the purchase of German furniture-maker Massivkonzept, and a physical retail presence.

Fab chief executive officer Jason Goldberg, who’s certainly no stranger to criticism — the company’s identity has shifted dramatically over the years — addressed some of the company’s critics in a blog post last night:

There are some who will call us a success because of this fundraise.

They’ll say we’re worth billions.

And, of course, there are some who will call it a bubble.

We know that the truth is that raising money is not success. Raising money is a responsibility that opens up new opportunities. We take our responsibility at Fab very seriously …

Goldberg notes that Fab’s sales are expected to more than double in 2013. The company’s sales grew by five times in 2012 compared to 2011.

Japan’s Itochu Technology Ventures also participated in the round as well as existing investors Atomico, Andreessen Horowitz, Menlo Ventures, and others.