Lightspeed Venture Partners

Bonobos working with Allen and Company for new round of funding

March 3, 2014: 9:30 PM ET

The round follows a large round of funding in 2013 and talk of an IPO.


FORTUNE -- Bonobos has hired the investment bank Allen & Company to help it raise a new round of funding, according to several sources familiar with the situation. The New York-based apparel company has been shopping the round to a number of late-stage venture firms.

The target amount for the raise could not be determined, though we can assume it will be sizable since the company hired a bank to handle the deal. Allen & Company most recently represented Facebook in its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. As the Wall Street Journal noted last week, the famously secretive firm has risen to become an increasingly influential dealmaker in Silicon Valley.

In the past, Bonobos has had little problem attracting venture funding. The men's apparel maker, founded in 2007, has raised a total of $73 million from venture firms. Presumably this time around, Bonobos will not be soliciting any "dumb" VC's who might have read CEO Andy Dunn's 2013 blog post, "Dear Dumb VC," which ruffled a few feathers in the startup community.

Glynn Capital and Mousse Partners led Bonobos' most recent round of funding, worth $30 million, in March, 2013. Existing investors Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Forerunner Ventures, and Nordstrom also participated.

At the time, CEO Andy Dunn said he expected Bonobos to turn a profit on that round of funding. A Bonobos spokesperson declined to comment on whether the company has turned a profit.

Also at that time Dunn said Bonobos has doubled its revenue each year for the past four years. A Bonobos spokesperson confirmed that that pace of growth continued in 2013. Seven months later, reported that Bonobos would be headed for an IPO in 2014. 

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Even with the revenue growth, sources indicate revenue has not yet crossed the $100 million range. That means if Bonobos raises as much as it did last time, its venture funding will have surpassed its annual revenue.

A number of startups riding the latest wave of e-commerce have raised monster rounds of funding only to hit stumbling blocks. has raised $336 million and the company's struggles were widely documented last year. ShoeDazzle, a subscription commerce company that had raised $66 million in venture funding, ended up selling itself to a competitor for less than half of what it had raised. Gilt Groupe, backed by $221 million in VC funds, has been promising an IPO for the past two years. Ideeli, a flash-sales site which had raised $107 million in investment, sold to Groupon (GRPN) for just $43 million.

Others have faired well: Zulily's (ZU) stock has steadily climbed since its IPO in 2013. is expected to go public soon. In New York, commerce startups such as Etsy, Birchbox, Harry's and Warby Parker have shown strong growth.

To be sure, Bonobos has already weathered a few bumps and bruises. The company lost its co-founder in a public break-up in 2010. Last year, Bonobos closed down its store and office in Palo Alto as it spun off an in-house tech product the company's West Coast engineering team had built. The company painted the move as part of a renewed focus on being an apparel company.

In its new focus on brand, Bonobos expanded beyond its signature pants to sell shirts, sweaters and suits. Bonobos launched a women's line called AYR and a golf line called Maide. The company is also doubling down on its physical showrooms, called Bonobos Guideshops, expanding them to eight locations around the country. Same goes for its partnership with Nordstrom (which is also an investor), which sells Bonobos apparel in 118 stores, and Belk, which carries Bonobos goods in seven stores.

Bonobos declined to comment on fundraising activity.

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