Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fashion Playtes Sews Up $1.5M In First VC Funding

By Rodney H. Brown Source: Mass High Tech

Custom clothing design website maker Fashion Playtes Inc. reports it has closed on $1.5 million in a Series A financing led by New Atlantic Ventures and LaunchCapital, with a number of angel investors also participating in the round. The company, which runs, landed the first cash in the financing in March, according to federal documents.

Officials at Salem-based Fashion Playtes say that the first round funds will be used to help the company expand its product line and customization options, further develop the social networking aspect of its website community and grow its customer base.

“We really want to make it more of a community so girls can share and collaborate,” said founder and CEO Sarah McIlroy. “We want to have a gallery — which we are working on right now — where girls can upload the clothing.”

New Atlantic‘s Scott Johnson and Bill McCullen of LaunchCapital have joined the Fashion Playtes board of directors.

On the Fashion Playtes website, users can design their own clothing items, then purchase their own designs. The social media aspect of the site comes in to play as users can collaborate on designs and share them, and Fashion Playtes will eventually incorporating game elements, officials say.

McIlroy said that Fashion Playtes has a number of partnerships in development to help it reach the target audience of online tween girls, but she declined to name any partners.

New Atlantic‘s Johnson said in a statement that the tween clothing market is valued at $11 billion per year. Fashion Playtes has recently moved into a closed beta period and plans to open up the beta in the fall. “We envision more of a hard launch in probably Q1 of 2010,” McIlroy said.

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