BERLIN — Reflecting a new international diversification strategy, Condé Nast Germany has taken a 26 percent stake in Monoqi, the year-old, Berlin-based startup for contemporary design, and raised its stake to 46 percent in RenéSim, Europe’s first luxury online jeweler based in Munich.
Monoqi was founded in 2011 by Simon Fabich and Felix Schlegel, and offers short-term selections of out-of-the ordinary and often limited-edition design objects, including everything from furniture to bike helmets, tableware to children’s toys. The site has “signed more than 1,000 designers that collaborate with us,” Schlegel noted, and further employs about 40 people, including an international team of design scouts to curate Monoqi’s selections. Monoqi ships all over Europe, although the focus of the business is currently Germany. Sales figures were not disclosed.
“Within only a few months, Monoqi has established itself with a very independent positioning in the fast-growing e-commerce market for the home and interior sector. As a premium supplier in this segment, Monoqi... extends our high-value media portfolio [into] a promising new business area,” commented Moritz von Laffert, president of Condé Nast Germany and vice president of Condé Nast International.
Besides potential synergies and support provided by Condé Nast’s international reach, “we are also interested in exploring opportunities to integrate content and commerce to push e-commerce to the next level,” Schlegel told WWD.
RenéSim was launched in 2010 by Georg Schmidt-Sailer and Maximilian Hemmerle. Hemmerle’s grandfather René Sim Lacaze designed jewelry for the likes of Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and private clients, such as the Duchess of Windsor, in the early 20th century. And his father, Franz Hemmerle, who currently designs RenéSim’s jewel-studded range with his son Maximilian, ran Munich’s exclusive jewelry store Hemmerle for 33 years.
Condé Nast has been on board as a RenéSim investor since 2011, in which time the sales volume, which was not disclosed, has reportedly quadrupled. RenéSim’s business expanded into France and the U.K. in 2012.
“We specifically target young, innovative businesses where we can contribute actively to a sustainable increase in value and which, as new business models, can provide meaningful additions to our media portfolio,” von Laffert stated.