Can we expect a new twist in the flash-sale wars? Gilt Groupe just announced they’ve raised $138 million from new and pre-existing investors, with the company now valued at $1 billion. However, the not-yet-profitable business (according to Kevin Ryan, founder and CEO) is about to face a new competitor: The European private sale site Vente Privée, which is about to launch in the U.S.
While the flash sales model has spread across the internet — with Amazon’s just-launched contribution, Myhabit, causing the latest stir — the stateside emergence of Vente Privée is worth noting because it’s actually the company that started it all. They’ve been in business for 20 years and served as the original model for Gilt, Myhabit, Hautelook, and the slew of other sites jumping on the bandwagon. Jacques-Antoine Granjon, the site’s co-founder, will be announcing more details of their U.S. entry on May 12 — including naming their new U.S. partner(s). It’s also already rumored that they’ll be working in some capacity with American Express.
Since they’re already a huge presence across Europe, we’d expect Vente Privée to set up here in a similarly go-big-or-go-home style. Now we just wonder what this will mean for Gilt Groupe, Amazon, and you the customer — yet another private-sale model seems like one fewer reason to ever pay full price.