German media group Bauer has teamed up with Index Ventures and several other investors to back online fashion retailer Navabi with €25 million.
The Aachen, Germany-based startup, which has an office in London, specialises in selling “plus size” women’s clothing.
Bauer Ventures led the funding round in what is believed to be one of the venture capitalist’s first investments since it announced a €100 million fund for European tech startups last August.
Other investors in the compamy, which could be described as a company with a website as opposed to a true tech firm, include Seventure Partners, DuMont Venture and Klaus Wecken.
The latest investment builds on a €10 million funding round led by Index Ventures in 2013.
Navabi said it will use the money to further develop its products and expand internationally.
Bauer Media has also pledged to give Navabi an "advertising budget" so that it can promote itself in consumer titles, such as magazine Grazia, which reaches 22 million readers every week.
Thomas Preuß, managing partner of Bauer Venture Partners, said: “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.”
Bahman Nedaei, co-founder of Navabi, said: “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."
According to Navabi, more than 50 percent of women in Europe wear plus size clothing and they're increasingly keen to find out where it's being sold.
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.
Co-founder Zahir Dehnadi, added: “The premium plus size market is the biggest untapped ecommerce 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."
Research firm Mintel suggests the UK market for plus size clothing is expected to grow to nearly £6 billion this year, up from £3.81 billion in 2008.
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