If you've ever clicked on a shopping link from a major magazine's website or a fashion-focused blog (including, full disclosure, this one), chances are it was an affiliate link powered by Rewardstyle. The company, founded by husband and wife team Baxter Box and Amber Venz Box in 2011, works with 9,000 content creators and 4,000 retailers, allowing those content creators to get a cut — usually between 5 and 15 percent — every time a link to a partner retailer's website eventually drives a sale. Rewardstyle, too, gets a cut.
It's developed into a sizable business, expected to drive more than $500 million in sales for retailers this year, per the company's internal estimates. And on Tuesday, Rewardstyle announced that it is closing on a $15 million Series A round of funding, bringing its valuation to $290 million. Not bad for a formerly bootstrapped company that's less than four years old.
New York-based venture capital firm Maverick Capital Ventures led the round, along with some powerful strategic partners: Veronica Chou, the daughter of Chinese billionaire Silas Chou, who took both Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors public; Russian street style star and Buro24/7 founder Miroslava Duma; and Nasiba Adilova, a Russian street style regular based in Dallas with a sizable Instagram following.
According to Baxter Box, the funding will be used to spearhead business growth in international markets, including Asia, the Middle East, Central Easter Europe and Russia. (Suddenly those strategic partners are making even more sense, aren't they?) The company also wants to grow its roster of luxury partners, add more content creators and accelerate its product development. Its most recent launch, in March 2014, was a service called Liketoknow.it, which works around Instagram's no-links policy to help content creators sell products they post about.