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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.

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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.