Rent the Runway clothes on hangers
Source: Rent the Runway Facebook

Online Designer Clothing Company Rent the Runway Is Preparing for Its Public Debut

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Sep. 21 2021, Published 9:35 a.m. ET

Rent the Runway, a company that provides rentals of high-end clothing, is looking forward to an IPO this year. It has made the CNBC Disruptor 50 list a total of five times, and ranked fifth on the list in 2019. Enabling women to rent clothing for a lower price than buying saves them money and gives clothing a new life.

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The company's last funding round gave it a $750 million valuation. Quite a few details about the Rent the Runway IPO aren’t yet public, as the company has only filed confidentially thus far. However, its initial filing was announced in mid-July, so further details may be coming soon.

Rent the Runway's history

Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss co-founded Rent the Runway in 2009 with a vision to help women feel their best through fashion. Their inspiration was Hyman’s sister, who had purchased a $2,000 designer dress for a formal occasion despite the credit card debt that would ensue.

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Source: Rent the Runway Facebook

Rent the Runway offers secondhand designer clothing for rent and is going public soon.

Harvard students Hyman and Fleiss then conceived of a clothing rental business that would be more economical for customers and launched the Rent the Runway website in Nov. 2009. Their initial product, “Closet in a Cloud,” offered a nearly unlimited selection of designer clothing pieces that customers could rent for a special occasion and then return after use.

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Customers also have the option to buy items that they love through Rent the Runway. The company says it has “disrupted” the fashion industry by bringing secondhand and rental shopping to the forefront.

The company offers monthly memberships starting at $69 for those who want a continuous supply of fresh designer clothing and accessories. Customers can also rent for a one-time use, such as for a wedding or other planned special occasion. Rent the Runway opened its first brick-and-mortar store in 2014 in New York City.

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Besides the appeal of unique clothing items for a fraction of the price of buying new, customers appreciate the sustainability factor with Rent the Runway. The rental market for high-end clothes means that pieces that might otherwise go to a landfill after use could be cleaned and worn again by different customers.

A similar company that launched around the same time as Rent the Runway, ThredUp, went public in Mar. 2021. ThredUp offers secondhand clothing items for sale as well. Levi Strauss, known for its jeans, has also ventured into the secondhand clothing market.

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Rent the Runway's IPO date, price, and symbol

Rent the Runway hasn’t yet announced when it will officially hit the public market. Since the filing was confidential, not much is known about the company’s IPO plans.

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The company’s number of shares on offer and proposed price range aren’t specified in the initial paperwork, either. Rent the Runway hasn’t announced which exchange it intends to trade on, nor has it mentioned what the trading symbol will be.

Investors in past funding rounds for Rent the Runway have included Fidelity, Temasek Holdings, Bain Capital Ventures, and Suro Capital. Bloomberg recently reported that in Rent the Runway's last funding round, its valuation was $750 million, below its previous valuation of $1 billion.


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