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Times Internet-backed Fab.com raises $150M from Tencent and others, valued at $1B

Times Internet is a small investor in the company and put in anywhere between $1m and $10m in the last funding round late last year when Fab was valued at around $600m.

New York-based lifestyle products e-tailer Fab.com has raised $150 million as part of a larger Series D round from several investors including China’s Tencent Holdings, the company’s co-founder and CEO Jason Goldberg said in a personal blog post.

Mentioning Tencent as a strategic partner, Goldberg said, “We specifically sought out a strategic partner like Tencent because we are intent on bringing Fab to many new markets. We believe that design is a universal language and we are confident that we can bring Fab’s unique products to millions and millions of people worldwide.”

ITOCHU Technology Ventures is another new investor in this round. Fab’s existing investors – Atomico, Andreessen Horowitz, Menlo Ventures, RTP Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, Lars Hinrichs and Docomo Capital – also participated in the latest round. Fab has now raised more than $310 million since its inception.

As part of the funding, Tencent, China’s top online gaming and social networking company which also happens to be the third largest internet company in the world with a market capitalisation of $73 billion, will get a board seat at Fab.

In a separate news report, Reuters has cited the company spokeswoman as saying that the current funding round values the firm at $1 billion.

Late last year, Times Internet Ltd, the digital arm of The Times of India Group, disclosed it had made a ‘seven figure’ investment in Fab.com. Although the deal amount was not specified, it means Times Internet invested anywhere between $1 million and $10 million. At that time, Fab was valued at over $600 million. The deal was fostered by Times Internet chief Satyan Gajwani.

“As part of this investment, Fab will be working with Times Internet to explore and execute on our India market strategy in the coming years,” stated Goldberg at that time. Given the statement about Tencent, it appears that the firm is gearing up to launch operations in India and China to get access to a bigger consumer base.

Fab claims that more than 10 million people across 26 countries turn to its site to discover everyday design products, to connect with international designers and to share their favourite design inspirations.

Besides selling designer products online, Fab.com happens to be a platform for independent designers. Here, people can browse through a wide range of products across various categories and share those across social media platforms.

Goldberg co-founded Fab, along with Bradford Shellhammer and the husband-wife duo of Nishith and Deepa Shah. Before co-founding Fab, Goldberg and Shellhammer had collaborated for an unsuccessful venture called Fabulis, a social network for the gay community. Goldberg had also collaborated with the Shah couple to start Socialmedian.

Last year, Fab acquired Pune-based technology startup True Sparrow Systems Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount. True Sparrow was the technology backend of Fab.com since its inception and was co-founded by Nishith and Deepa Shah in 2007.

Fab claims nearly 14 million registered users who have purchased around 6 million products. Last year, it has sold one product every 5 seconds, of which half included home products, 10 per cent covered art, 10 per cent jewellery and 20 per cent included fashion & fashion accessories.

Over one-third of its sales are through mobile and the firm says it is looking to more than double its sales in 2013, compared to 2012 (which was estimated to be over $150 million and five times more than 2011). It currently sells in 27 countries and 40 per cent of it is outside the US.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

(TLabs, Indiatimes)

Times Internet Ltd. owns and operates website and mobile based internet networks. Its also operates brands like indiatimes, tlabs, etc. Its services include internet and mobile value added services (VAS) messaging services, multimedia messaging, dating, chatting, and email on mobile, and electronic wallet, non resident Indian (NRI) solutions, book domains, business mail, web site designing, website hosting, sales customer relationship management (CRM), tenders, legal information, rewards, and hire models. The firm also operates an online portal that provides shopping service to its customers through various channels such as web, mobile, and business 2 business and platform services. It also offers online display advertising solutions to news and media, youth and entertainment, technology, regional, lifestyles, special interests, realty and travel. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in Gurgaon, Haryana with additional offices in New Delhi and Uttar Pradseh. Times Internet Ltd. operates as a subsidiary Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. is engaged in providing internet based service. It offers value-added Internet, mobile and telecom services and online advertising in China. The firm provides services under the brand names QQ (QQ Instant Messenger), WeChat, QQ.com, QQ Games, Qzone, 3g.QQ.com, SoSo, PaiPai and Tenpay. It caters to communication, information, entertainment, e-commerce and others. The company was founded in 1998 and is based in Shenzhen, China.


Rahul Malhotra
The title is so misleading. You say that venture is backed by someone when they have actually incubated or invested behind at an early stage or they are the only investor in the company. Times of India Group is just an investor that invested a few million dollars at a fairly late stage and there are 10 other investors in Fab.com. So why such a flattering headline for TOI. If I read an early headline for Fab.com, you guys had mentioned "Andressen Horowitz backed Fab.com acquires Pune based tech partner TrueSparrow". That still made sense.... this one is disappointing.
Vivek Sinha
@Rahul fair observation. But mentioning Times Internet in headline was to bring India angle for people who do not know Fab.com in India, as many non tech/non tech-VC readers may not connect with it. The sub headline and the story itself makes it clear upfront that its a small investor. Saying backed need not mean being lead investor.

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