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Fashion startup RewardStyle raises US$15m in funding

[NEW YORK] RewardStyle, a startup that helps fashion bloggers get paid, has raised US$15 million in a funding round that values the company at US$290 million.

Maverick Capital Ventures led the Series A round, Dallas- based RewardStyle said Tuesday in a statement. The company plans to use the funds to expand its technology and drive international growth.

RewardStyle lets fashion bloggers and social-media personalities get paid by brands whose clothing and accessories they show off to their followers. The company's LikeToKnow.It product lets a select group of people tag Instagram photos with special links. Then, customers who sign up can like the tagged posts and receive an e-mail with a page featuring the clothes in the image and a link to purchase them.

Co-founded by Amber Venz Box in 2011 as a way for fashion bloggers like herself to make money, RewardStyle drew inspiration from the commission that personal shoppers make from boutiques where clients purchase clothing. Bloggers get a cut when their followers buy something through their links. There are 9,000 content creators and 4,000 global retailers currently using the services, according to the statement.

RewardStyle expects content creators using its service to bring in more than US$500 million in retail sales this year, up from more than US$60 million in its first full fiscal year in 2012.

Last year, the company's LikeToKnow.It service for the first time gave social-media users a more direct way to preorder clothes debuted by brands BCBGMAXAZRIA and Herve Leger on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runway.