Chinese sneaker reselling platform "Nice" announced on Monday that it has raised tens of millions of U.S. dollars in a series D round of financing led by TPG-SV China Ventures, a US$300 million investment fund jointly established by global private equity firm TPG and Softbank Ventures Asia, and Chinese venture capital firm Vision Plus Capital.
Chinese venture capital firm Invention Capital and returning investor Matrix Partners China also participated in this round.
Nice was founded in 2013 as an online photo-sharing social networking platform before the company changed its business model in July 2018 to serve as an online fashionista community and trading platform for limited-edition sneakers. The company has posted over RMB100 million (US$14.54 million) in monthly gross merchandise volume (GMV) in the five months after it launched the new business.
The investment came after another Chinese sneaker reselling platform "Poizon" raised a funding round led by global venture capital firm DST Global in April 2019, which was said to value the company at over US$1 billion.
Chinese companies are in a race to build a more solid reputation in authentication and trading services for limited-edition sneakers as the global athletic footwear market size is expected to reach US$95.14 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research. Much of the sales are driven by limited, team exclusive sneakers with identification of specific athletes. The underground resale shoe market, which more people are growing to learn about, was valued at US$1 billion in April 2018, per Business Insider.
"Fashion is no longer just an interest of a minority group, but an important life attitude shared by most young people nowadays," said Ding Haipeng, partner of TPG-SV China Ventures in an interview with Chinese tech-focused online publication 36Kr. "Nice has the potential to become the Chinese version of StockX, which is not only an online marketplace for buying and selling sneakers but also a trading platform for all consumer products that have appreciation potential."
Proceeds will be used to upgrade the platform, expand service team, and attract more users.
Nice has raised three funding rounds worth a total of US$64 million in 2014. The previous rounds saw the participation of Tiger Global Management, Vy Capital, H Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, and Matrix Partners China.