Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to find budding Rule Breakers reveals an outlet for wannabe divas and proof that, on the Web, it's still all about the eyeballs.
First up is Bag Borrow or Steal. No, I'm not making that up. You can find the company through its website, where budding divas can literally rent high-style original handbags for between $19.95 (trendsetter) and $99.95 (diva) a month. Think of it as Netflix for the princess set.
I find the idea remarkably appealing. No, not because I like handbags. I'm not even sure my wife would use the service (our small kids force her to carry a diaper bag most days). But I know literally dozens of women who loooooovvvvve to bling it up with the latest style. For them, Bag Borrow or Steal could provide an intriguing gift. Private equity investors seem to agree. According to VentureWire, the company recently took in $8.25 million in Series B funding from Madrona Venture Group, Impact Venture Partners, and Valence Capital Management.
Of course, the investor enthusiasm could also stem from the company's founder and CEO, Michael Smith, who previously created Classmates.com and subsequently turned a $15 million equity investment into a $100 million buyout by United Online (Nasdaq: UNTD ) , according to VentureWire. Regardless, the company says it already has thousands of members. My guess is that millions more are waiting in the wings.
Next up is China-based Oak Pacific Interactive. According to VentureWire, it recently received a whopping $48 million from a group of investors including General Atlantic LLC, Doll Capital Management, Technology Crossover Ventures, Accel Partners, and Legend Capital.
Oak Pacific is essentially a pure Internet business. According to tech news site Redherring.com, the company has its hands in both communications infrastructure and popular Chinese community sites, including mop.com, UUme.com, DoNews.com, and wowar.com. The appeal of the model, it seems, has to do with both the burgeoning Chinese market and the valuations afforded to engaging social networking sites such as MySpace.com, which was last year acquired byNews Corp. (NYSE: NWS ) for more than $500 million.
Only time will tell whether Oak Pacific has the right formula. In the meantime, it's interesting to think that, five years after the Internet bubble popped like a balloon stuck with a pin, the Web is still all about stickiness and eyeballs.
Sadly, there were no Baby Breaker public offerings this week, which means it's time to say goodbye. See you back here next Friday when we continue the quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
For more Rule-Breaking Foolishness:
- Check in with last week's infants.
- An 11-bagger and a suntan. Now that sounds nice
- Here's how to ride technology to a triple.
Netflix. Marvel. AOL. Starbucks. Find out how David Gardner landed these and other multibaggers by taking atest driveof Motley Fool Rule Breakers today. You'll also learn why our analysts are smashing the market by more than 20% as of this writing. Or simplysign upnow and receiveStocks 2006, which features our analysts' best picks for the year ahead, free. All you have to lose is the prospect ofbetter returns.
Netflix is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.
Fool contributorTim Beyersis not really all that into bling. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.