According to von Borries, WPP invested because of Refinery29’s unique strength with millennial women. “The female point of view stood out, and they saw it’s the only company building creative for women.”
Besides investing in video, Refinery29 will seek growth outside the US. It will set up operations in the United Kingdom and Germany, with plans to launch a German-language edition by early next year.
Raising $50 million puts Refinery29 in an small group of digital-first publishers: Vox ($107 million raised), BuzzFeed ($96 million raised) and Vice ($580 million raised). Such vast investments put pressure on founders to generate continued growth. Does von Borries feel that pressure?
“There’s a clear and joint understanding that we’re building Refinery for the long term, and everyone is totally committed to that journey,” von Borries said. But it seems Refinery29 has no cause to worry anyway. “We’ve tripled the business year over year for the last four years in a row. We’re on an aggressive path to reach our user wherever she is in the mobile and social ecosystem.”