The twin sister entrepreneurs who founded activewear brand Stylerunner have been able to attract more than 800 retail partners to their fashionable deals and discovery app within two years, but its female-oriented name 'Her Black Book' is now out of season as a wider cross-section of consumers are drawn to the product.
Founders Sali Sasi and Julie Stevanja have today announced the rebrand to Wrapd, accompanied by a web version launch as well following the closing of a $1.8 million capital raise including reinvestment from Touch Ventures, Andrew Hagger and several other existing investors.
Stevanja tells Business News Australia the raise, which brought in four new investors including Islero Capital CEO Samantha van Gelder, takes total seed funding for Wrapd to $4 million since it was founded in November 2021.
"We know capital raises are harder and rarer in this market, so we're grateful for the support of existing as well as new investors in supporting our vision to reinvent retail brand communications," she says.
With brands including Bec & Bridge, Sephora, Asos, Lululemon, Adore Beauty, Nike and hundreds of others, the app has notched 70,000 downloads to date and has 20,000 active users.
When asked about the secret to this rapid success, Stevanja says there are many parallels to the origins of the journey with Stylerunner - a brand that eventually succumbed to administration but remains a fashion staple in Australia as part of the ASX-listed Accent Group (ASX: AX1).
"The business model already exists – what we’re doing is doing it for another segment of the market which is the higher end of fashion," Stevanja explains.
"It takes the right branding, the right execution, the right tone of voice, understanding their needs. For example we do communicate flash sales and promotions, but we do it in a way that protects brand integrity - the way we communicate in the app is very elevated with regards to the messaging, so there's no big sale banners plastered across any of the images, we don't use the colour red at all. For our cashback we use the colour gold.
"We have engineered our business model to be able to support us to be customer-first and customer-centric."
What this means is there is only a minor advertising component, with greater priority given to tailoring suggestions to customers' interests and click-throughs, with the help of artificial intelligence - hence the new web browser wrapd.ai.
"We want to recommend brands they will love and actually want to follow, instead of the models that you see out there today, which are kind of pushing just the highest bidder for advertising’s sake," she says.
"There is some advertising in our model, but you'll find that in places like the explore feed.
"The AI to start with is about the recommendations, but there is more to it. The feature hasn’t been released, but part of the AI, we hope to 10x the number of promotional offers in our app within the next month."
She says the company does have affiliate partners through which it makes a commission, but 100 per cent of that goes back to customers through cashbacks.
"That’s not our largest long-term revenue stream – we charge a subscription fee to all brands," the co-founder explains.
"This model when you pay a flat platform fee is much more scalable in terms of return in the long-run. Your [the partner's] ROI (return on investment) increases drastically as consumer reach increases."
She says the rebrand was made so that the company could be more inclusive, especially as data was showing nearly 10 per cent of Her Black Book's audience was male.
"It's obviously making the app more inclusive for them and to grow that audience, but it also means we can expand on that category," she adds.
"With a gender neutral name, we can focus on expanding our brand and category offering, further establishing Wrapd as the go-to destination for deals, drops and discovery across not only fashion, but also wellness, beauty, shoes, everyday essentials and more."
Sasi explains why moving to a web-based offering as well was a logical next step.
"We understand that some people prefer to browse, shop and checkout on desktop rather than a phone, or browse a website’s offering before committing to download yet another app, so we are thrilled to be able to offer shoppers both options," she says.
From the latest raise - which included a dedicated effort to seek out female investors as in other rounds - significant investment will be made into the company's tech roadmap, comprising plans to utilise AI to offer new functionality consumers and merchants, and scale brand partnerships and customers.
Investor Samantha van Gelder, CEO of Islero Capital, says the twin sisters' passion, attention to detail and business model were so compelling that "investing was a no brainer".
"They have their Stylerunner experience under their belt and can leverage off that experience and education," she says.
"It is amazing to be able to support and invest in creative and driven female founders."
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