Plus size fashion retailer navabi announces €25m worth of funding

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Navabi, a global leader in women’s premium plus size fashion, has announced a new funding round worth €25m. The investment was led by Bauer Venture Partners, and included navabi’s previous investors Index Ventures, Seventure Partners, DuMont Venture and Klaus Wecken.

The round comprises a cash investment and advertising budget with Bauer Media. The advertising budget will provide navabi with access to leading consumer titles across its key European markets. Bauer Media manages a portfolio of 600 magazines and more than 400 digital products. In the UK, its titles, which include market leading Grazia, reach 22 million consumers every week and cover the core demographic which navabi is seeking to target. The funding will be used for developing navabi’s product offer, including its own labels which already account for a quarter of the company’s sales, as well as for international expansion.

Bahman Nedaei, co-founder of navabi, said: “We are thrilled to have Bauer Venture Partners on board as an investor. The combination of a cash investment and advertising budget makes total sense for navabi at this stage of our growth. Bauer has great connections to female consumers and this deal will help us to expand and develop our offering, while reaching millions of potential new customers.”

Joint co-founder, Zahir Dehnadi, said: “The premium plus size market is the biggest untapped e-commerce sector and has the fastest growth rates in fashion. We are the pioneers and leaders in this market. We have grown rapidly over the past six years and have built an insanely passionate company. This latest fund will enable us to continue our mission of providing plus size women with the quality fashion they desire but the industry to date has largely failed to deliver.

“Also, the deal with Bauer Media will place premium plus size fashion firmly in the mainstream media.”

Market research from Mintel and others shows that the plus size market is not only huge – with an estimated 50%o f the female population in Europe wearing plus size clothing – but also growing faster than traditional apparel sales.

According to Mintel, the UK market alone is expected to grow to nearly £6bn this year (2015), up from £3.81bn in 2008.

The number of women looking online for plus size clothing is growing rapidly throughout Europe. In the UK, Google searches for ‘plus size’  were up 21 per cent in the last three months of 2014 – a crucial trading period  for retailers –  compared to the same period a year earlier. Worldwide, Google searches for ‘plus size’ were up 14 per cent last year, and up 45 per cent compared to three years ago.

Thomas Preuß, managing partner of Bauer Venture Partners, said: “Navabi is transforming ecommerce and fashion for so many women. This investment, for us, represents a firm belief in not only navabi’s robust business model but also the company’s aim of providing plus size women with premium clothing apparel.”

Dominique Vidal, partner at Index Ventures, said: “We are excited to continue our partnership with navabi. By offering a sought after and premium product, navabi has established a very loyal customer base throughout Europe.”

This latest fund follows a €10m funding round led by Index Ventures in 2013.

Since launching, navabi has experienced strong growth rates per year of on average 120%. Thirty per cent of navabi’s turnover comes from the UK and other international markets. Co-founded in Germany by serial entrepreneurs Zahir Dehnadi and Bahman Nedaei in 2009, navabi and its 150+ strong team are increasingly satisfying the needs of style-savvy plus-sized women across the globe. The company trades in more than 30 countries, including the UK, Germany, France and the US.