Sydney-based circular fashion platform The Volte has closed a $4 million Series A round led by eBay Ventures which has also entered into a commercial partnership with the dress-sharing site.
Co-founded by Bernadette Olivier and Jade Hirniak, The Volte is a luxury fashion rental marketplace that holds no inventory of its own, rather it connects ‘lenders’ to renters who can access the pieces for a limited time at a fraction of the cost to own the clothes.
The Series A follows a boom in popularity for the platform which claims it has seen month-on-month bookings double in 2023, with more than 70,000 dresses now listed on the platform accessed by 300,000 monthly active users.
Co-founder and CEO Olivier said the investment, which also includes a commercial partnership building on eBay’s commitment to recommerce (the re-sale of previously owned goods), reinforced the global consumer shift away from disposable fashion.
“Key to the fashion industry becoming sustainable is for better-made, high-quality items to stay in circulation for longer,” Olivier said.
“Our partnership with eBay will strengthen The Volte’s ambition to grow the circular fashion economy in Australia and we are already working with eBay Australia on several initiatives that will reduce fashion disposability.”
eBay head of fashion Brooke Eichhorn said the partnership would benefit sellers, buyers and brands significantly.
“eBay has long been a champion of fashion recommerce, with 16 million pre-loved fashion items listed for sale on eBay.com.au in previous years,” Eichhron said.
“This partnership with The Volte will enable us to continue challenging and changing what it means to buy, sell and love fashion.
“Buy now, earn now, sell later are opportunities that last a lifetime. By pioneering greater accessibility, transparency and sustainability – we are way ahead of the curve in making fashion go further.”
According to Olivier, a dress is rented out on average nine times via the platform, but some popular dresses can attract hundreds of requests.
“We are all about encouraging people – and making it possible – to purchase better quality clothes, moving away from the fundamentally flawed fast-fashion model,” the CEO said.
“This has the potential to disrupt the $420 billion fast fashion industry. Consumers can look at fashion as an investment, rather than as disposable.”
In addition to eBay, venture capital firm BetterLabs also joined the $4m Series A funding round which was oversubscribed.
The funding round is the latest multi-million dollar raise for a circular economy company in recent months and follows a $2 million seed round for second-hand luxury fashion site Azura Fashion Group in November last year.
The round was backed by investors including Utiliti Ventures, Halkin Ventures, Jefferson Capital Partners and Archangel Ventures, and followed the launch of its ‘Pre-Loved by Azura Reborn’ offering on Australian e-comm site The Iconic.
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