Internet-Only Bonobos Gets Cash and Rack Space From Nordstrom

Bonobos, the New York-based online clothing brand, says it has closed $16.4 million in new funding from Nordstrom and that it will start selling its pants at the high-end department store.

The partnership and funding is a huge vote of confidence for the brand, which up until today only existed on the Internet.

If you haven’t seen the ads and don’t already know, Bonobos is known for “better-fitting” men’s pants, and while I’ve heard many men say it’s true, it’s apparently hard to explain why — sort of like why the company is named after a kind of over-sexed chimpanzee. Wait, maybe it’s not that difficult to understand. Ahem.

To be sure, the company has a large selection of nice pants.

Bonobos said the round of funding was led by Nordstrom, along with full participation from existing investors, such as Accel Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

In a statement, Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos, said “We understand there are people who still want to touch and feel clothing before they purchase. We realized we needed help expanding beyond our web-only roots.”

Since launching in 2007, Bonobos has expanded to offer a full clothing line for men. Beginning in April, Nordstrom will carry the top two product lines of Bonobos, including chinos and cotton trousers. The brand will launch at 20 of Nordstrom’s stores and within the Men’s Shop on Nordstrom.com.

“Our investment with Bonobos will enable Nordstrom to participate in the young company’s phenomenal growth, and we look forward to what we can learn from each other as we build the business together,” said Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct.

Last March, Nordstrom acquired HauteLook, an online retailer that offers flash sales.

Like Bonobos, several venture-backed companies have cropped up over the past couple of years that encourage men to shop more online, such as Indochino, J. Hilburn and TrunkClub. In December 2010, Bonobos raised $18.5 million.


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