Italian media brand Freeda raises $16m for UK expansion

9 Sep 2019445 Views

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Italian media company Freeda has plans to ramp up operations in English-speaking countries.

Milan-based media brand Freeda has raised $16m in Series B funding. The round was led by Alven, with participation from investor club U-Start. Endeavor Catalyst and UniCredit were also new investors in the company.

Freeda is an Italian media brand. It was founded in 2016 by Andrea Scotti Calderini and Gianluigi Casole to create media content aimed at women. The brand was built with social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn in mind, rather than a standalone website.

The company said that it will use the latest round of funding to expand activities into Spain and South America, while opening an office in London. Freeda eventually aims to strengthen operations in English-speaking markets.

Calderini and Casole said that moving into the UK market is a “fundamental step” towards achieving the goal of becoming “the most relevant female media brand worldwide”.

The company has raised $33m to date, between seed funding, debt and an earlier round of VC funding in May 2018, when the company closed $10m.

Joanna Lyall, former MD of Mindshare UK, will manage the UK market, while Beatriz Medina, former head of digital at Atresmedia, has been appointed to manage operations in Spain. The company currently has 160 employees.

Online interaction

Each day, more than 5m women engage with Freeda across its social media platforms. TechCrunch reported that Freeda reaches 80pc of Italian and Spanish women aged 18-34 every month.

Of female media brands on Instagram, Freeda Italy claims to have the highest level of interaction, topping a list that includes names such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Refinery29. In fifth place on this list is the Spanish iteration of Freeda’s Instagram presence.

The company has plans to launch a direct-to-consumer brand in 2020. While the founders have remained tight-lipped on what kind of Freeda-branded products they intend to eventually launch, they’re reportedly looking at streetwear and beauty or personal care.

The company has previously run campaigns with Nike, Gucci, Estée Lauder, Shiseido, Dior and Burberry.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com