Deals

Fab adds $5M from Japan’s Itochu, months after closing $150M

Above: Fab's Berlin headquarters

Fab is getting a little extra boost from Japan.

The e-commerce company announced today that it has raised an additional $5 million from the Itochu Corporation.

Fast-moving Fab is valued at over $1 billion. It raised a $150 million round in June and said this was the first part of a round that could climb to a whopping $250 million. Itochu Technology Ventures, the venture capital arm of Japan’s Itochu Corporation, participated in the first tranche.

Itochu is a general trading company that was initially founded as a kimono retail store in 1858. Since then it has become a leading global corporation that trades textiles, machinery, energy, food, etc. and provides logistics services. In a blog post this morning, Fab’s founder and CEO Jason Goldberg said that the Itochu has the largest network of third-party warehouses in Japan and that the Itochu team will be a “key strategic partner as Fab continues its mission in creating the world’s design store.”

Fab started out as a social network for gay men but pivoted to becoming a lifestyle brand that sold products in flash sales. The products were design-focused, spanning a range of categories, and the experience was meant to mimic the experience of shopping with friends. This model proved successful. It attracted millions of members, and Fab raised $105 million in July 2012 to build up its inventory and fuel international expansion. It acquired clones and other startups around the world and searched for Asian partners.

However, Fab announced that it was pivoting away from flash sales in April 2013 to focus on building its own brand.

“We want to build something really massive — like at an Ikea scale. We think we can create the Ikea or Amazon of design,” Fab CEO Jason Goldberg said at Fab’s New York City headquarters.

Its online store was restructured to focus on specific product verticals like furniture, home goods, art, clothing, jewelry, food, books, pets, and adult fun. The site also added designer pages and exclusive product listings to help people discover items they love. Goldberg said the company intends to start building brick-and-mortar retail stores.

The $150 million Series D, led by Chinese company Tencent, was slated to drive its transformation and support its fast-growing global audience. Fab now has 14 million members, and Goldberg expects that sales will more than double in 2013. The company laid off 100 employees from its European headquarters in Berlin in an effort to be more efficient and streamline operations as the company grew.

With today’s news, Fab continues its quest for world domination. This $5 million from Itochu will help Fab enter the Japanese market in 2014.

This brings Fab’s total capital raised to over $315 million. Previous investors include Atomico, Andreessen Horowitz, and Menlo Ventures.