Singapore-based Clothing Rental Startup Style Theory Snags US$15 Milllion in SoftBank Ventures Asia-led Series B Funding Round

Singapore-headquartered fashion rental platform Style Theory, which is a startup that aims to make designer clothing and items accessible to everyone through its subscription-based apparel rental service, has successfully closed a Series B financing round in which it managed to raise a total of US$15 million in funds, it recently announced. Existing investor Seoul-based SoftBank Ventures Asia, which is the corporate venture capital arm of Masayoshi Son’s Softbank Group, acted as the leading investor for Style Theory’s funding round. The Series B round also saw the engagement of other prominent investors, including Paradise Group and consumer tech-focused venture capital firm Alpha JWC Ventures, who along with Softbank Ventures Asia were also participants of the fashion apparel rental startup’s Series A financing round.

Style Theory co-founders Raena Lim and Chris Halim said that the newly acquired funds will enable the startup to further innovate and improve on their tech platform’s capabilities and performance to lower costs and better serve their customers. Presently the company employs artificial intelligence on its platform to gather data on consumer spending habits and browsing patterns for the purpose of customizing user experience as well as to identify market trends based on their platform user’s rental history, which will impact their decision on which fashion apparel and items the clothing rental startup will want to offer on their site.

According to Ms. Lim and Mr. Halim, the new funding will also enable the startup to diversify and broaden its inventory of clothing and fashion products to serve a wider base of customers before making a move to expand into new foreign markets next year. As the startup expands into new overseas markets and scales up its operations, it will soon have to implement Internet of Things (IoT) tech to complement its current customized warehousing and logistics system for better identification and tracking of its apparel and clothing items. One such method in consideration is the use of radio-frequency identification tags, which will enable the startup to streamline the warehousing and logistics process.

Sean Lee, a senior partner at SoftBank Ventures Asia, in a press release noted that fashion is one of the last unconquered spaces in the sharing economy, and that Style Theory is poised to be a major player in that space with its proven track record and appealing business model, which has the potential to disrupt and transform the way consumers spend on fashion and clothing items across the region of Southeast Asia. Mr. Lee added that the venture capital firm is thrilled to be helping the fashion rental startup as it penetrates new markets and expands and scales across the region.

To be successful in the region, Ms. Lim and Mr. Halim emphasized that Style Theory has had to adapt its approach and operations to suit the Southeast Asian market. As an example, as most Southeast Asian workers rely on public transportation to get around and are not at home to receive their items due to prolonged work schedules, the startup has established various physical locations in its markets through their partnerships with malls, co-working spaces and automated locker providers so as to better serve their customers. As quite a number of customers also do not possess a credit card, Its platform also accepts a variety of payment options. The customization to local tastes extends to their line of clothing and apparel as well. Both Ms. Lim and Mr. Halim said that their startup takes into consideration the many different cultures and societal norms that exist in the region, and choose their fashion apparel and clothing choices based on the demands and preferences of the various cultural groups and markets.

The fashion rental service startup Style Theory is poised to become a major player in the fashion apparel landscape of Southeast Asia. With the new funding and support from SoftBank Ventures Asia and other investors, it is well on its way to fulfilling its vision of making high quality designer items and fashionable clothing accessible to all in a sustainable manner.

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Derek Tan

Derek is the news editor at Absolute Market, a news media focusing on the Southeast Asian tech and startup scene. Contact him at derek [at] for any news pitch.