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Refinery29 raises $20M to become go-to style guide of the Internet

Image Credit: Refinery 29 Facebook

Refinery29 is like that cool friend who always knows what to wear, the hottest restaurants, and the latest trends.

The fashion and lifestyle website has raised $20 million to expand its media platform, which features content on fashion, beauty, lifestyle, news, and local cool stuff to do. It also includes an online store where consumers can search and shop from popular brands.

Whether you are trying to track down the best loaves of bread in San Francisco, or a stylish new coat for fall, Refinery29 can help. Many of its articles are structured as lists — “12 comfy-chic jeweled sweatshirts,” “30 cool NY rooms,” “3 easy-win brunch recipes to soothe your hangover” — and it has a local content for New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Washington, DC.

It’s sort of like Buzzfeed but focused on the interests of millennial women.

The site claims to attract 11 million people a month and 30 million unique visitors and one billion page views per year, with 1.25 million registered e-mail users. Between Facebook and Twitter, it reaches 10 million readers.

Stripes Group led this third round of funding. Refinery29 will use the money to expand its programming into video and new categories, including beauty, wellness/health, entertainment, and home. It will also expand its community of contributors, editors, and celebrities and make a “major investment” in technology to add personalization features, a new mobile Web and app experience, and enhanced shopping tools.

Digital media is a tough space. Online publications of all sizes struggle to make money through traditional methods (banner advertising, paywalls, etc.) and are constantly experimenting with new business models, advertising strategies, and raising venture capital.

Refinery29 has an advantage in that it focuses on fashion and lifestyle, and thus shopping/e-commerce is an authentic component of the business. Women go to the site for style advice and inspiration, and can directly buy products that appeal to them. Refinery29’s data is also valuable for brands who can use it to target relevant consumers.

This round brings the total capital raised to $30.4 million. Previous investors include Floodgate, Lead Edge Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures, and Hearst Corporation.

Refinery29 was founded in 2005 and is based in New York City.

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