Lean-but-mean StylistPick guns for the competition with new war chest

Bringing US business models to Europe might seem an obvious move for some – but it’s frequently far harder than it might appear. US incumbents can indeed try to expand, but some fall at the first hurdle. Exactly this happened on January 20 when Shoedazzle announced its closure in the UK. UK head Nigel Whiteoak has since admitted to me that the company was looking to make more of the continued opportunity in the US, versus trying to expand in the UK. Shades of the Romans over-reaching their borders? Maybe. Whatever the case, the news has been a boon to Stylistpick, the local UK player which is making hay in the UK and now heading to other markets with a war chest.

StylistPick has now raised an $11million B round led by Fidelity Growth Partners Europe. The subscription-based fast fashion brand, kept existing investors Accel Partners and Index Ventures on board, who invested $8 million in a Series A in April 2011. The board of directors is now Davor Hebel (Fidelity), Sonali de Rycker (Accel), Robin Klein (Index) and Eileen Burbidge (Passion Capital).

The startup is moving quickly. It has 600,000 members after a year of operating and is claiming a tripling of quarter on quarter revenue to the final quarter of 2011.

Users establish their fashion profiles and for £39.95 a month get a monthly online showroom tailored to their taste packed with shoes, bags and jewellery. These are created by celebrity stylists like Cheryl Cole and MTV’s Louise Roe. Cole’s own range comes in at an eye-watering £79.90 to £119.85 a month! But members can skip a month’s subscription or cancel at any time, so it’s flexible but highly retentive. CEO Felix Leuschner says he wants to build “the next generation online fashion.”

On the face of it it is underfunded again the field.

Stylistpick’s total fund raising to date is approximately $20 million (it also has less than $1 million from angels (including Stefan Glaenzer, Robert Dighero, Mark Zaleski (former CEO/Chairman of Dailymotion, and also of QXL before that).

It’s competitors include Shoedazzle, Shoes4You, JustFabulous and BeachMint.

Of those, Shoedazzle raised $60 million total (from big name VCs including Andreessen Horowitz and others) and has Kim Kardashian as a lead celeb. But Shoedazzle shut down after only 4 months of running in the UK.

Justfabulousraised a total of $62 million so far (from Matrix and Technology Crossover Ventures, two tier1 big-time US VC firms) all in September 2011.

BeachMint raised $75 million total (from big name VCs including Accel in this last round and others), and last round was announced of $35 million was only recently announced. It has the Olsen twins, Jessica Simpson and Rachel Bilsson.

Shoes4you (Brazil only) has raised money from top VC firms like Accel.

So, what can we take from this?

Accel is nicely exposed and hedged in this market.

The sector is super hot.

The UK is hot but harder than some think.

Meanwhile, you can see via LinkedIn that there is a member of the Stylistpick team whose title is “France Country Manager at Stylistpick”, noting she joined in December 2011.

Conclusion? StylistPick might just be in a good place right now.

Update: Some existing EU players include ChicChickClub.de, StylistClick.com (France, by Spartoo) and the Samwers’ clones. The Samwer brothers’ German clone Glossy Box Style just closed.