Refinery29, a women-focused media company, raises $50m in Series D funding


Refinery29, the ten-year old female-centered online fashion media, has joined the Big Media startup club, after raising $50 million in Series D funding. The funding was led by Scripps Network Interactive and giant WPP ventures.


The media company Refinery29, founded by Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano,  has site with articles on fashion, fitness, politics, decor and food. It also publishes individuals success stories along with other news. The company employs 250 employees and has an audience of 25 million all over the world. The media company aims at women and that is what separates them from other media magnates. According to ComScore, visitors for the site had a huge leap of 136% from the previous year. Philippe von Borries, co-founder and co-EO of Refinery29 said, “Over the next five years, multi-billion dollars media brands will grow out of the digital core, from which Refinery29 was born and is the leader.”

People oriented with the company say that with the current funding, the company has raised $80 million and the worth of the company has increased to $290 million. So far this is the biggest funding round for a media company that targets mainly at women. The company has said the money raised will be used to widen its video and entertainment programming targeting Millennial generation women, to open up globally and to bridge the gap between the mobile and social-media platforms. It has recently hired ex-Vice Media Exec Amy Emmerich to run the video program and is in talks with television distribution channels and web-based distribution channels for screening its videos.

Von Borries said, “Media is an inflection point. We are focused on vastly expanding our media and entertainment brand, creating smart, provocative editorial, video and social content at the intersection of style, culture and independence.” In the past three years the company has doubled its size and its profits. The company operates in New York and Los Angeles and is looking forward to open up offices in UK and Germany as means for international expansion.

On international expansion, Von Borries said, “It’s become clear that fashion is something that appeals to a global mindset. You can see the exact same campaign launch in New York and Hong Kong on the same day. That’s the category we are in, and Refinery29 truly need to be a global brand that creates content for a global market, sourcing ideas and styles from local market around the world.”

Few years ago, Refinery29 was one among the companies working to combine content and e-commerce. Over time, e-commerce part has vanished and the focus of the company shifted to generate money through advertisements like standard displays and importantly ‘branded contents’ that it makes for its customers. This took the company to great heights where it is today.

As part of the funding deal, Scripps’ Chief Development Officer Joseph NeCastro and a WPP representative will join as board of directors for the company. Previous investors of the company includes Stripes Group, Floodgate, Lead Edge Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures and Hearst Corporation.