Co-founded by serial entrepreneur Kasper Vardrup -- who also co-founded accelerator Startupbootcamp, amongst many other companies -- Thefashion.com is another startup operating in the fashion discovery and shopping space. The site aggregates the wares of a multitude of fashion sites into a single online destination, enabling consumers to cross-shop from millions of fashion products. It competes with the likes of Lyst, Polyvore, Google Shopping, and Stylight, to name a few. Currently operating in the UK, U.S., and Denmark, the London and Copenhagen-based company has just closed a $1.7 million round of funding to further expand in Europe, namely adding Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands to that list. Investment comes from Copenhagen-based North East Venture Capital and The Danish Growth Fund. "Thefashion.com was born out of our own frustrations with how time-consuming it is to shop for fashion online. There are thousands of e-commerce stores and millions of products to choose from, but it is still a struggle tracking down specific products and finding the best place to buy them," Vardrup tells me in an email. "This problem is amplified in Europe where 20-30 per cent of all purchases are made cross-border, with large variations from country to country when it comes to prices, shipping/return terms, sizes etc." The startup's solution is to offer a fashion shopping aggregator, similar what we've already seen in other e-commerce categories, such as Skyscanner (travel), Zillow (real estate), and Hotel.com (hotels). However, Vardrup says fashion shopping is a harder nut to crack. "What makes fashion different is the amount of products and the lack of unique product identifiers. This makes it a lot harder building an effective aggregator," he explains. Along with aggregating products from multiple stores, including large online retailers such as ASOS, Farfetch, My-Theresa and TheOutnet, and hundreds of smaller national online shops, Thefashion.com has a focus on "simplicity, curation and personalisation". It does this via a store-like interface and its own algorithms and machine-learning tech that adapts to users’ tastes to display products and similar items its thinks they'll like. In addition, Vardrup claims the startup's localised 'go-to-market strategy' is what sets it apart from competitors. "History shows that aggregation is usually a winner-takes-all game when you look at national markets. We believe that local data is key to succeeding in fashion," he says, citing the example of Sweden where roughly 70 per cent of all apparel purchased is from local retailers, and Scandinavian brands dominate. "You need data from these stores and you need to understand the local fashion trends to build an effective product. That is why we believe in a localized, country-by-country approach where we combine the inventory from the large international retailers and brands with smaller local players."
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