March 17, 2011, 11:19 AM

How e-retailers can keep investors happy without losing direction

An IRCE speaker says it’s all about choosing the right investor.

Lead Photo

Andy Dunn

Young e-retail businesses need money to grow. And their leaders also need to have a firm hand in guiding their companies. Both are vital to long-term success, says Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos, a trendy men’s clothing retailer.

Dunn will speak on this subject in a session entitled “The entrepreneur-financier tightrope: Keeping both sides happy when outside money comes in” between 2:15 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on June 14 at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in San Diego.

"E-commerce companies require capital and patience to scale,” Dunn says. “We started by finding people passionate about the product first and foremost. Relevant comparable experience is key.” Dunn will be speaking with Jeremy Liew, managing director, U.S., for Lightspeed Venture Partners, which invested $18.5 million in Bonobos along with Accel Partners.

“When Jeremy showed up in turquoise corduroy to our first meeting, I knew we were on the right track," Dunn says.

Beyond finding like-minded investors, Dunn will discuss the pitfalls of taking in too much cash. "Taking the right amount of capital is important—enough to get to the next phase but not so much that you lose focus,” he says. “Creating a capitalization and terms that can scale requires venture capital investors with judgment and vision for the long haul."

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Dunn to speak because Dunn knows all about the trials of raising money without compromising the creative direction of a company. Bonobos is an outgrowth of a project that Dunn started with his roommate in business school. The roommate designed a type of men’s slacks that sold 75,000 pairs online in the company’s first two years.

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