ABOUT THE COMPANY
Zalando SE is Europe's leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle that connects customers, brands and partners in 17 European countries. What started in 2008 as a Berlin-based online shop for shoes became a tech-enabled fashion ecosystem. By merging strong expertise in the fields of fashion, technology and convenience, Zalando aims to become the Starting Point for Fashion – the one destination customers gravitate to when they think about fashion.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
In October 2008, David and Robert came back from South America with their first entrepreneurial experiences and great ambitions. From an apartment on Berlin’s Torstrasse (that is still used by the company today), they started Zalando. When HV Capital first met Zalando, buying sneakers online was anything but easy. Online penetration in the fashion industry was low, and it could take up to several weeks to get a pair of sneakers delivered. People outside of cities had to travel miles to stay up to date with the latest fashion trends, always bound to the limited offers of local retailers. Today they can have them delivered straight to their door at any time, thanks to Zalando.
"AT A TIME WHEN MANY PEOPLE TOLD US THAT OUR PLANS TO SELL SHOES ONLINE WERE NOTHING BUT CRAZY, HV BELIEVED IN US. WE ARE STILL GRATEFUL FOR THEIR TRUST AND SUPPORT IN ZALANDO’S EARLY DAYS, BECAUSE WITHOUT BOTH, ZALANDO WOULDN’T BE WHERE WE ARE TODAY."
Today, a world without Zalando is difficult to imagine. Since 2008, the company has grown from an e-commerce store for shoes to a platform for fashion and lifestyle with almost 14,000 employees. They aim to be the Starting Point for Fashion, and a sustainable platform with a net-positive impact for people and the planet. David and Robert are still members of the Zalando management board – together with Rubin, who joined slightly later – actively managing day to day operations. They have also become active angel investors, contributing to the emergence of several other new companies in Europe. As an online platform for fashion and lifestyle, Zalando brings together around 32 million active customers in Europe, more than 2,500 brands and many other partners. They are aware that this gives them a unique opportunity to help shape the fashion industry for the better, and Zalando is committed to this goal.