Vinted, a social marketplace for pre-loved clothing, has taken the spot as Lithuania’s first tech unicorn, after raising a stellar €128 million. The funding round was led by new investor Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from existing backers including Sprints Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Accel and Burda Principal Investments. Funds will be used to boost product development and rocket rapid growth across Europe.
Vinted was founded in 2008 in Vilnius, Lithuania, and offers a peer-to-peer mobile experience for users to sell, buy and swap secondhand clothing. In the past few years, Vinted has grown to operate in 11 European markets, employing over 300 people. We’ve been following Vinted’s growth closely, first featuring them in 2015 in our list of 4 hottest startups in Lithuania to keep your eyes on, and in 2018 in our list of 10 promising startups founded by women.
Vinted’s new unicorn status is stellar for a few reasons. Firstly, it shines a spotlight on the startup ecosystem of Vilnius, Lithuania, an increasingly innovative entrepreneurial hub. Fast becoming known as the FinTech centre of the Baltics and indeed Europe, their FinTech licensing process is the quickest in Europe, allowing companies to access all 28 EU member states. Vilnius now has five official sandboxes – three in FinTech, as well as an energy and PropTech sandbox – and boasts an exciting line up of ‘hubs’ like the Blockchain Center Vilnius. If you are thinking of starting up or scaling up in Vilnius, check out our rundown of the Vilnius FinTech ecosystem.
Secondly, the green startup has tapped into the increasing concerns of many millennials around the impact of ‘fast fashion’. A hot topic making news in many circles, this growing social impact trend can be seen reflected in the creation of startups such as London-based Depop, who we wrote about recently raising 55 million in a Series C round. Vinted in fact began when founder Milda Mitkute was moving house and realised just how many unworn clothes she had, sparking Justas Janauskas to create a website to give away her clothes to her friends.
Looking to the future, Vinted’s mission is to make second-hand fashion the first choice worldwide. They have big plans to use the funding to double headcount in the both the product and technology teams, invest in technologies to improve the value proposition for users, strengthen member-support services and continue to grow and connect its strong pan-European member base, which currently numbers 25 million.
Thomas Plantenga, CEO of Vinted, commented, “We are approaching an inflection point in the market for second-hand fashion; consumers around the world are becoming increasingly conscious of their buying choices. We’re grateful to our new and existing backers who believe in our mission to make second-hand the first choice worldwide. Today’s investment is an endorsement of the future market opportunity and of our approach to maximise value generation for our members.”