More than 2.5 million people have tried the clothing rental service, but just 5% are still subscribers at Rent the Runway.

(Bloomberg)—Rent the Runway Inc. filed for an initial public offering, as it bets on the return of weddings and parties to help drum up business for its special-occasion and workplace clothing rental service.

The fashion-rental company in a filing Monday listed the size of the offering as $100 million, a placeholder that will change when the share sale’s terms are set. Rent the Runway Inc. is No. 311 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

Rent the Runway struggled early in the pandemic and its valuation dipped to $750 million, after earlier being valued at $1 billion. It also cut staff and closed its retail stores. It currently only operates drop-off centers where customers can return rented clothing.

Monday’s filing, which confirmed earlier Bloomberg News reports, reveals little recovery as the pandemic gave people fewer excuses to dress up.


Rent the Runway reported a net loss of $85 million on $80 million in revenue in the six months ended July this year. That compared with a $88 million loss on $88.5 million in revenue the same period a year ago.

The startup listed the COVID-19 pandemic as a risk factor. “The global macroeconomic effects of the pandemic may persist for an indefinite period of time, even after the pandemic has subsided,” the filing said.

While the company claims more than 2.5 million customers have tried out its subscription plans at some point, under 130,000 were subscribed as of July 31. In other words, Rent the Runway has retained less than 5.0% of its total subscribers.

Those subscribers, who can rent a set number of items each month from Rent the Runway’s full assortment starting at a flat $99 per month, generated 83% of revenue in the prior six months. Shoppers can also rent items piecemeal or purchase used items to keep.


Rent the Runway is the latest in a wave of consumer businesses expected to continue testing the public markets in the coming months. Allbirds Inc. (No. 395) also updated its listing documents on Monday and is expected to go public this year.

Started in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss as a way for women to rent dresses for special events, Rent the Runway has expanded to everyday wear through subscriptions. The company said in May that actress, lifestyle expert and founder of Goop (No. 153) Gywneth Paltrow had joined its board.

“Prior to Rent the Runway, wearing beautiful designer fashion wasn’t a realistic option for most people,” Rent the Runway co-founder Hyman wrote in a letter to prospective investors. “We have democratized high-end fashion for women everywhere.”

Its investors include a fund affiliated with Ares Management Corp., Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital and Technology Cross Ventures, the filing showed.


The offering is being led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Barclays Plc. The shares are expected to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol RENT.