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Stefan Larsson Joins The RealReal Board as Firm Eyes IPO Possibility

The RealReal is building its board leadership as it moves closer to an expected initial public offering, adding industry expertise with the appointment of Stefan Larsson.

Larsson, most recently former president and chief executive officer at Ralph Lauren Corp., who prior to that held senior level positions at H&M and Gap Inc., said, “I’m excited to have joined The RealReal board because I believe it is one of the strongest new innovators in retail and has a unique understanding of where the consumer is going.”

His decision to join The RealReal board could also be a good indicator of where Larsson sees retail headed. The luxury consignment firm has often touted the sustainability and environmental impact of buying second-hand goods, key factors that haven’t been lost on millennial consumers who have shown a preference for the resale market.

Larsson was at H&M when he decided to join Ralph Lauren Corp to help lead turnaround efforts at the company. During his tenure from November 2015 to May 2017, Larsson helped formulate the company’s Go Forward strategy, which was the answer to re-invigorating components of the apparel firm’s operations. The H&M experience came through as he sought to shorten production lead times for the company.

After leaving Ralph Lauren, there’s been speculation over what role Larsson might take over next. At one point there was news of talks with J. Crew Group, though that has since dissipated. The turnaround at J.Crew is believed to be an extensive one, and some credit analysts have concerns over whether the firm’s financials will allow it the time it needs to effect a complete overhaul of operations.

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Larsson joins The RealReal board amid talk about whether it will pursue an initial public offering later this year. The luxury consignment firm has been in talks with investment bankers since early this year.

Joining Larsson on the board as new appointees are technology expert James Miller, a former executive at Google Inc., Amazon.com, Cisco and IBM Corp.; customer experience expert Niki Leondakis, president of Wolff Resident Experience Co. and former CEO of Equinox Fitness Clubs; and finance expert Rob Krolik, former chief financial officer of Yelp.

The new independent directors bring The RealReal’s board to eight members. They join Julie Wainwright, founder, CEO and board chair, as well as Michael Kumin, managing partner at Great Hill Equity Partners; Gilbert L. Baird III, co-founder and partner of PWP Growth Equity, and Maha Ibrahim, general partner of Canaan Partners.

Great Hill has been an existing investor in the company, and was part of the group that invested $115 million in July 2018 in a Series G round. That was led by Perella Weinberg Partners and included Sandbridge Capital, PWP, Canaan and Greycroft Partners. The Series G round gave the company a valuation in the $745 million range. The company has reportedly filed to sell another $70 million in new shares and, if completed, would give it unicorn status and a valuation of over $1 billion.

Earlier this month The RealReal expanded its brick-and-mortar presence with a new store on Madison Ave., in New York’s Upper East Side. It joins two other stores, one in SoHo and the other in Los Angeles.