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KIDBOX raises $15.3 million to give children their own personalized style box

Its mission is to clothe 1 million children in need and KIDBOX has donated $3.9M in clothing value

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 24, 2018
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4b6f

I remember when I was growing up how my mother would worry about buying me clothes, especially shoes, that I would grow out of very quickly. It seems that either parents have to go shopping every month or so, or they have to buy things a few sizes too big, but what kid wants to go to school that way? Neither of those options is a workable solution.

KIDBOX has come up with a third way to solve the problem: by offering style box for kids that is personalized to their taste.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it raised $15.3 million in a Series B funding round led by Canvas Ventures, with participation from existing investors Firstime Ventures and HDS Capital. New strategic partners include Fred Langhammer, former CEO of the Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and The Gindi Family, owners of Century 21 department stores.

This round brings the total amount raised by KIDBOX to $28 million.

Launched in 2016, KIDBOX's mission is to give kids cool clothes to wear while also saving their parents money. The company uses machine learning to capture each kid’s style to deliver curated, seasonal wardrobes.

"Typically kids’ clothing is expensive with a short shelf life, given that kids outgrow clothing quickly, but KIDBOX evolves with each child and enables parents to more efficiently shop for multiple children, allowing them to try before they buy," Miki Berardelli, CEO of KIDBOX, said in an interview.

Parents using KIDBOX fill out style profiles indicating what their kids style is, for example Modern Casual or Sporty. Based on that, in addition to other insights such as where they live or what item they could use more of, the company puts together a curated box for them. The company leverages its propriety data algorithm to create the personalized box, which is perfected by a human stylist before it's sent out.

"In terms of specific requests, we’ve received some in which parents request that boxes for twins be exactly the same. But mostly, every box is different depending on each child’s style profile, age, etc," explained Berardelli.

KIDBOX is not a subscription service; rather, customers are able to opt in or out for a seasonal box or choose to receive all. The company also makes sure that each KIDBOX features a surprise for the child, such as toys and The Scribble newspaper.

In the first quarter of this year, KIDBOX grew new customers 3.1x over the same quarter last year, and the community now includes over 1.2 million families. The core customer base for KIDBOX are parents in their early 30s to early 40s. It is also able to reach households with a variety of incomes, with some lower than $70,000 and others higher than $150,000.

"What is unique about us is the convenience, value, and experience we provide to parents and their children," said Berardelli.

"Our proprietary technology coupled with human touch helps us deliver personalized boxes for each child based on his/her style personalities. Through our model, we serve as a vehicle that brings brands over the threshold of the biggest storefront out there, people’s homes, which is much more powerful than an item of clothing hanging on a rack in a store waiting to be discovered. Brands are looking for this channel as thousands of stores have closed and will close in the near term."

KIDBOX now features over 100 brand partners including Adidas, Puma, 7 for all Mankind, Diesel, DKNY, Splendid, and Jessica Simpson. The company is also currently in development of our own proprietary brands which will launch with Back To School.

A social mission

In addition to helping parents save money on their kids clothing, KIDBOX also has a social mission statement to clothe one million children in need.

"We’ve found this has had a profound impact on our customers. For many, KIDBOX has presented the first opportunity for parents to introduce their kids to the power of philanthropy and giving to those less fortunate," Berardelli said.

The boxes help parents teach kids about giving back, as, for every box kept, KIDBOX provides new clothing to a child in need through a partnership with Delivering Good.

"Parents are reporting back to the company that they are having the conversation with their children about the importance of giving back earlier in the child’s life than they would have otherwise because of the KIDBOX shopping experience," said Berardelli. 

To date, KIDBOX has donated $3.9 million in clothing value to children in need through a partnership with Delivering Good.

KIDBOX's goal

KIDBOX says it will use the funding will be to ramp up customer acquisition. The new money will also be used to expand the company’s data science team, building upon KIDBOX's 35 member employee base. 

The company will also have a new board member, as it was also announced that Paul Hsiao will be joining the board of directors.

"We gravitated to Paul as a board member for several reasons: first, Paul is a domain expert with an exceptional track record in successful ecommerce companies. As a Canvas partner, Paul led investments in Zola and eporta (and in Houzz when he was a partner at NEA), serving on each of their boards. Paul recognizes the patterns for building successful ecommerce companies and can also help steer us away from the pitfalls," said Berardelli.

"I also personally appreciate the fact that Paul has more female-led startups in his portfolio than virtually any VC I know. His female-led companies include Thrive Global, Zola, eporta, Fluxx and Houzz from his NEA days. And now me from KIDBOX. Canvas, as a firm, was ranked #1 by The Information’s recent 'VC Diversity Index' of 2018."

Going forward, Berardelli expects to see greater personalization in the ecommerce space, and the goal is for KIDBOX to be the go-to style for kids all over the country.

"We’ll see more brands looking for new modes of distribution as retail doors continue to close. Data science has become an integral element of ecommerce, as personalization is key for reaching niche audiences today and will continue to be looking ahead. Delivering products to customers in the comfort of their homes is not going away any time soon," she said.

"Our goal is to be the ultimate kids apparel style service for families living anywhere in the country, whether that’s the coast or in the Midwest. Eventually we want KIDBOX to be synonymous with the best quality apparel out there for kids of all ages."


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