1stdibs Raises $42 Million in Series B Round

12/3/12Follow @cathyarnst

[Updated 12/03/12 5:55 pm. See below.]When it comes to online shopping, you can’t get more high-end than 1stdibs, an 11-year-old online retailer based in New York that trades in very pricey antiques and luxury goods. Clearly, the site appeals to more than just the rich folks who shop there—1stdibs today said it has raised $42 million in a Series B round from Index Ventures and Spark Capital to finance the company’s international expansion and a website redesign, among other things.

Combined with the $60 million raised late last year from Benchmark—one of the early backers of eBay—1stdibs has taken in a somewhat stunning $102 million in the past year, the first outside financing the company has sought since its founding in 2001. Spark Capital general partner Todd Dagres and Index Ventures general partner Danny Rimer will join Benchmark‘s Matt Cohler as 1stdibs directors. [Quote added to provide further details on financing.] 1stdibs Chief Marketing Officer Adam Karp told me in a phone interview that the e-marketer has been historically profitable, but decided to seek outside financing because “it’s the right time. We reached critical scale and we saw a lot of opportunity to grow, but that takes resources.”

As my colleague João-Pierre S. Ruth wrote in Xconomy last year, David Rosenblatt, former CEO of Doubleclick, took the helm at 1stdibs in November 2011, at the same time as the Benchmark investment. Rosenblatt told JP he was drawn to the market opportunity that 1stdibs has as a seller of hard-to-get luxury items. “Our customers are decorators and prosumers [professional consumers],” Rosenblatt said—the kind of “prosumers” who apparently don’t blanche at shelling out $325,000 for pear-shaped diamond drop cluster earrings, or $28,500 for a crystal and gilt chandelier, or a mere $2,100 for a silver cigar case.

 [This paragraph was amended and the next paragraph added to provide further details from Karp on international expansion and web page redesign.] All of 1stdibs’s items are sold through 1,700 dealers of antiques, art, and jewelry from around the world, including Online Galleries in Britain, which it purchased in September. Karp said 1stdibs plans to launch immediately in both Spain and Italy with a small number of dealers and beyond that will continue to seek out “the best dealers in the world.” Founder and Chairman Michael Bruno, who also holds the title Chief Creative Officer, continues to go on most of the dealer recruitment trips, and Karp says he doesn’t have a hard sell to oversears dealers. “They are looking for additional ways to sell to a global marketplace, and they are very aware of us.”

1stdibs’ redesigned website will be launched by the end of this year, says Karp, with easier and faster search technology. The retailer does not plan to add any more product categories in the next year, however, after expanding into luxury real estate last year. “We’re very focused on making what we have now the best possible.”

Along with the news of its latest financing, 1stdibs reported that the total sales value of goods sold by its dealers will exceed $650 million this year, up 30 percent from 2011. The company also said in its press release that it had tripled its presence in Europe this year, and now represents dealers in nine countries.

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