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NEW YORK — Fashion GPS has signed a new partnership with Style.com and is launching French and Italian versions of its anchor Fashion GPS Radar mobile platform this fall. The company also plans to open an office in Los Angeles by yearend, an office in Milan in 2013 and expand an existing office in Paris.
The multipronged growth initiatives will be funded by Fashion GPS’s first Series A round of financing, which kicks off this week. The company is making presentations to a number of potential strategic investors through October and expects to raise between $10 million and $15 million, according to chief financial officer Angelo Federico. Last September, the company raised $1.3 million from a convertible note in a bridge to the Series A, with a group of prominent investors including Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary, Ronald Lauder, Len Blavatnik and Laurel Touby.
The Style.com deal will have the Web site’s fashion week slideshows integrated into Fashion GPS Radar, which is a tool for brands and industry professionals to digitally manage their show and event invitations, during fashion weeks as well as throughout the year. At the spring 2013 shows next month, the home page of the Radar app will be co-branded as “Fashion GPS in collaboration with Style.com.”
Some details of the agreement have yet to be ironed out, but the aim is to incorporate Style.com’s fashion show images into Radar, which is accessible on smartphones and computers. Once a runway show or presentation is complete, the images from the show would be available for review by Radar users, who can share favorite looks via a variety of social media networks like Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest.
By next year, Fashion GPS is working to marry its Radar event management platform with its separate sample traffic management system, used by brands to track the whereabouts of samples sent out to publications and stylists. Under this umbrella, editors and buyers — in concert with their counterparts at brands — will be able to organize invites, check into shows and events, review Style.com slideshows, take notes, mark favorite looks, request samples and track those samples via a single mobile platform.
“We believe that working together we can make the entire experience of attending shows and trafficking samples a whole lot simpler and smoother for everyone involved,” said Eddie Mullon, founder and chief executive officer of Fashion GPS, which since 2006 has gained a client roster of PR agencies such as KCD, BPCM, Karla Otto, Starworks Group, Paul Wilmot Communications and HL Group as well as fashion brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang, Christian Dior, Lanvin, YSL, Coach, Kenneth Cole and Victoria’s Secret.
Competitors to Fashion GPS include Event Farm in event ticketing and PRflows and Sparkle PR in sample trafficking.
Mullon emphasized that certain aspects of the Style.com partnership, as well as some advanced functionalities of Fashion GPS, were in beta testing this upcoming season and would be fully operational for the next round of shows in February.
Dirk Standen, editor in chief of Style.com, participated last month in a panel discussion hosted by Fashion GPS on technology’s impact on global fashion weeks, which helped spark the agreement between the two companies. “We had been talking for quite a while and we realized it made a lot of sense to work together,” said Standen. “They have developed a lot of tools over the years that appeal to industry professionals. While we have an audience of millions of consumers, those industry professionals are also an important audience for us.”
During the fall 2012 shows this past February, Style.com had 3 million unique visitors and 247.4 million page views for the month. That compares to an average of 2.4 million unique visitors and 148 million pages views during the past 12 months, including February. Currently Fashion GPS Radar is only available on the iPhone. The company plans to expand to other smartphone operating systems by February.
Style.com is owned by Fairchild Fashion Media, parent of WWD.