Y Combinator-backed Ole delivers luxury fashion items in 50 minutes

Ole (pronounced “o-lay”), an on-demand fashion app that promises to deliver designer clothes to you in less than an hour, recently closed a $1.5 million round in funding, the company exclusively told TechCrunch. This brings the total amount raised to $2 million– Ole got $500,000 from Y Combinator last year.

Ole makes it easy for last-minute shoppers to buy outfits in time for special occasions, vacations or events. The app lets you browse and shop nearby luxury stores, including Miu Miu, Acne Studios, Isabel Marant, Fleur du Mal, Lisa Yang and more.

The company plans to use the new capital to further develop the product as well as partner with more brands to expand its fashion offering. Investors participating in this round include AI Global, Goodwater and Lightray, as well as Spring Studios CEO Giuseppe Stigliano and Gad Allon, professor of operations, information and decisions at the Wharton School.

There are some key differences between Ole and other fashion delivery apps. For example, Ole allows you to return clothes as soon as they are delivered. Ole’s “Try On At Home” service is meant to feel like a typical in-store fitting room experience but more convenient because you’re at home. You can choose multiple sizes of an item and, once shipped, the messenger will wait 15 minutes for you to come back and return the items you don’t want. The delivery person will not leave until you sign the transaction.

You pay for the items you keep plus a $5 shipping fee.

When it comes to online shopping, returns are a huge hassle for most customers, resulting in wasted time out of your day and delayed refunds. Reducing the return cycle from weeks to an hour improves the experience for customers and retailers. According to a 2022 surveyreturns cost US online retailers 21% of the cost of a product.

Image Credits: Ole

Another aspect of Ole that stands out is its guaranteed same-day delivery in just 50 minutes. For reference, the London-based competitor NIFT (Need It For Tonight) promises delivery within 90 minutes. In addition, Ole messengers deliver goods on bicycles to promote sustainability, a refreshing change for an environmentally responsible industry. 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Messengers are evaluated based on “level of service and interest in fashion,” explained co-founder and CEO Alon Hendelman. Fifty percent of the delivery team are women, and Ole pays them “higher than the market standard,” he said, but did not specify the amount.

“As our mission is to provide an exceptional experience from online to on-ground, Ole’s messengers are trusted contractors that we have carefully selected,” added Hendelman.

Image Credits: Ole

Regarding Ole’s business model, the company takes a 25% commission from retail partners for each order. The average order value (AOV) is $450, Hendelman told us.

“About 40% of our users are loyal and come back for repeat purchases. These are very valuable customers who buy regularly at high AOV,” he boasted.

In the long-term roadmap, Ole wants to launch a live chat capability for users to contact customer service reps and get recommendations and style assistance. It also wants to integrate AI-powered personalized recommendations.

Hendelman founded the company in 2021 with his longtime friend, Gal Aharon (CMO). They previously started Engie, a car diagnostics app and mechanic market. His cousin Omer Hendelman (COO), former vice president of operations at delivery startup Avo, is also on the founding team.

Hendelman and his wife conceptualized the idea for Ole when ordering food on a delivery app.

“(My) wife asked, ‘Why can I get a burger in 25 minutes, but if I order from the boutique around the corner, how many days will it take?’ That made us see the gap and opportunity in fashion shopping,” said Hendelman.

“While every other segment is making great strides in on-demand delivery — pharmaceuticals, food, groceries — the trend hasn’t changed. And like Uber disrupted the transportation market and DoorDash did for in food, we do the same for fashion,” he added.

Ole is currently only available in New York City, however, there are plans to roll out to more cities in the US and Europe by 2024. The app is free to download at App Store.

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