(R-L) Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus
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One Kings Lane is the name of an online shopping site for furniture and other household wares, a “vertical” site in the parlance of the tech industry. Designer home décor, furnishings and gifts for the home can all be found on its website; top quality brands at discounted prices.
Yesterday it was announced that the company had succeeded in raising US$112 million in new equity capital, its fifth financing round since it was founded, as a new start-up, by Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus in 2009.
Altogether, One Kings Lane, or OKL for short as the full name is quite a mouthful, has raised now close to US$230 million in equity funding. Moreover with this latest round the business is valued at just over US$900 million, on a post money basis.
This latest round of financing is being led by New York based investor Mousse Partners. Mousse is a family office for private money, specializing in venture capital investing, and is led by its Chairman and CEO Charles Heilbronn. Mr. Heilbronn founded the firm in 1994, but it is not entirely clear if he is deploying principally his own wealth at Mousse or on behalf of the owners of international fashion house Chanel.
Mr. Heilbronn is an Executive Vice President of Chanel Inc. inNew York. Chanel inc. in turn is a subsidiary of the France company Chanel SA. The owners of privately held Chanel are the billionaire French brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer. Alain Wertheimer also has offices in New York as well these days.
Susan Feldman was originally a merchandiser in the fashion industry in New York. She first met Alison Pincus, at a time when she was working with digital content in SanFrancisco, when Feldman moved to Los Angeles in 2008. In an interview with Tech Crunch in 2012 Alison said she couldn’t stop talking, in her initial conversations with Feldman, about the possibility of starting the company because she saw how disruptive a company like One Kings Lane could be. And Feldman’s background in merchandising and creative trends seemed to be just the ticket as a complement to her own business business development and digital media background.
As a New Yorker, Feldman was already unimpressed with the idea of driving from store to store to find individual pieces for new LA home, then the standard model in such a spread out suburban city. Feldman knew well too that in those days unless you were the interior design consultant, in the home decor space you couldn’t get the big discounts on designer goods yourself.
After founding the firm with about US$4 million of hard-found initial funding, which then operated mainly based on flash sales and daily deals, the company has since grown rapidly and claimed revenues of more than US$200 million in 2012, with currently more than 10 million claimed club “members.” It is possible 2013 sales numbers were a good deal higher therefore.
OKL claims to be today the leading online sales site for the home décor market, offering its members access to spectacular designer home décor, furnishings, accessories, and gifts – at prices up to 70% off retail. Women are its primary target customers.
The company has done well to get this far, and Alison’s husband Mark Pincus, one of the founders of the online games site Zynga, who famously was pushed out as CEO of Zynga last summer in a boardroom coup, to become Chairman and Chief product officer, must be pleased she took the advice he gave her originally which was, paraphrasing heavily, to “be quick and nimble, ”…“first or second to market is ok, but after that it would be too late”.
The company’s CEO Doug Mack joined the company in 2010, whose job is to keep the business on an even keel, and continue to scale its operating capabilities for rapid growth, while the two founders preserve the imaginative spirit of the enterprise.
But where did the company’s name come from, you might well have been asking yourself. One Hawthorne Lane is one of Pincus’ favorite streets in San Francisco, but seemed a bit of a mouthful. Kings Road is a well-known street in LA so they mixed the two together, et voila: One Kings Lane!