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Refinery29 raises $50 million from WPP and Scripps

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MUMBAI: Digital lifestyle media company Refinery29 has raised $50 million in new funding from WPP and Scripps Networks Interactive, via WPP Ventures.

This brings the company’s total funding to $80 million with previous investors including Stripes Group, Floodgate, Lead Edge Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures and Hearst Corporation.

Refinery29 will use this latest round of funding to accelerate its mission to become the global media company for a new generation of women, powering inspirational, smart entertainment and discovery tools and resources across lifestyle categories. The company will expand internationally by launching new markets and building communities abroad, develop its distinguished video and entertainment offerings, and further connect its content and technology platform to the mobile and social web.

“Media is at an inflection point. Over the next five years, multi-billion dollar media brands will grow out of the digital core, from which Refinery29 was born and is the leader. We are focused on vastly expanding our media and entertainment brand, creating smart, provocative editorial, video, and social content at the intersection of style, culture, and independence,” said Refinery29 co-founder and co-CEO Philippe von Borries.

Refinery29 has nearly doubled in growth in each of the last three consecutive years and the business is profitable. In the last year, the company expanded its content from its core style focus to deliver coverage of politics, culture, food and technology that connects with women across all dimensions of their lives.

Scripps Networks Interactive chief development officer Joseph NeCastro will join Refinery29’s Board of Directors, along with a representative from WPP Ventures.

With his past experience in broadcast operations, media and finance, NeCastro will act as an important advisor for the Refinery29 team as the company looks to scale into a global media brand for millennial women.

“Scripps Networks Interactive has built its global business on a deep understanding of the creation of compelling content that appeals to women across multiple geographies and devices. Refinery29 is committed to building an influential brand that connects with millennial women across the world, and we’re excited about the prospect of working in partnership with the team as they continue to expand their coverage and reach,” said NeCastro.

"Refinery29 operates at the intersection of content, shopping and social media—all areas of focus for WPP Ventures. We're delighted to make this investment alongside Scripps," said WPP Ventures president Tom Bedecarre.

Refinery29 co-founder and co-CEO Justin Stefano added, “Having Scripps Networks Interactive and WPP Ventures as partners will elevate Refinery29 in building the next global chapter of the business. Both bring decades of experience to the table, having built and funded globally-renowned media brands and developed exceptional lifestyle programming. Their deep insight into the ever-evolving media and advertising landscape will be invaluable in building out Refinery29’s editorial and entertainment teams.”

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