Founder Caroline Baeten achieves a breakthrough for female entrepreneurs
Tuesday, October 3rd, Antwerp – Belgian clothing rental platform Dressr has secured 250,000 euros in growth financing. With this funding, the company is expanding its successful model for clothing rental, whether through subscriptions or for one-time occasions. Dressr is a project created by entrepreneur Caroline Baeten, initiated as a sustainable response to the current fast fashion industry. The platform is highly user-friendly: with a few clicks, customers can order clothing from 45 different Belgian clothing and accessory labels, which are then professionally cleaned, sent in reusable packaging, and accompanied by a return label to the customer within one working day.
Founder Caroline Baeten impresses with successful investment round
It continues to be more challenging for female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts to generate investment capital today, as shown by recent data from The State of European Tech 2021:
- In Europe, only 1% of total venture capital was allocated to female founders.
- One of the main reasons for this imbalance is the lack of women-leading funds in Europe, with only 12% of European venture capital firms being led by women.
- In Belgium, female founders received just 1% of the available (European) venture capital in the previous year.
Despite these challenges, Baeten managed to attract a diverse group of investors, including Trividend Provincie Antwerpen, Hefboom, OYA Seed by Piet Colruyt, and business angel Patricia Laureys.
Caroline Baeten: “I am delighted to have secured this financing for Dressr. It was a challenging journey, but in the end, I found partners who share my vision one by one. We rent clothes, which often stay local, so it is very special that we can take our processes and platform to a new level. It is also hopeful to see investments in ecological models. Alongside our partners, we strongly believe in a mindset shift among consumers and brands if we make the offering attractive enough.”
While this breakthrough required significant efforts, Baeten remains optimistic: “Being a woman and pregnant during the fundraising process made it more challenging than regular fundraising. Succeeding is good news for female entrepreneurs in Belgium!”
All parties involved in this investment round not only contribute financial resources but also unique insights. Hefboom specializes in the cultural sector (and by extension, the fashion sector) with its culture credit, Trividend focuses on social employment, and Opnieuw & Co collaborates with Dressr to streamline logistics processes.
Piet Colruyt, one of the investors, emphasizes the importance of collaboration: “If we want to get more consumers involved in the sharing economy, it has to be about attractive, high-quality fashion. Sustainability doesn’t have to be dull or expensive. Dressr is showing the way.”
Future plans for further growth and platform optimization
The raised financial resources will be used for marketing and growth. The region remains the same (Belgium), but the goal is to further expand the Dressr community.
Baeten adds: “My goal is not only to make our service sustainable but also our business model and operations. With the new capital, we are determined to make a positive impact by making clothing rental a permanent part of the wardrobe. Through digital initiatives such as tracking the clothing value chain and smart integration that allows brands to offer rental services through their websites, we will further strengthen our position as an innovator in the Belgian fashion world.”
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