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Fab.com raises $40M, led by Andreessen Horowitz

The popular design-focused e-commerce site is attracting big money and racking up a user base.

Fab.com, a design-focused e-commerce site that's growing like mad, today announced that it has raised $40 million in a round led by the big venture firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Jason Goldberg (sitting) and Bradford Shellhammer, co-founders of Fab.com Fab.com

It's a spectacular rise for Fab.com, which just six months ago changed course from its original business to become to a retailer all sorts of goods--from jewelry to artwork and home furnishings--through flash sales that typically last 72 hours. Fab.com started as a social network for the gay community.

"It's humbling, it's exciting and it's pretty amazing," said Jason Goldberg, the founder and CEO. "We try to be authentic and bring a unique blend of design products at all price points in dozens of categories. We've brought a lot of color into the otherwise black-and-white, pretty boring e-commerce world."

It's also signed on some colorful investors. Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary, who is best known as Madonna's manager, put in an undisclosed amount, as did Silicon Valley firms Menlo Ventures, First Round Capital and SoftTech VC.

The company also announced that Jeff Jordan, the former CEO of OpenTable and now a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will join Fab.com's board.

Fab.com's growth has been astonishing. The site now has 1.2 million members, half of whom signed up in the past two months. It processed 100,000 orders in November in alone, and is averaging $1.4 million in sales a week.

All those numbers explain the high investor interest and big valuation. Fab.com raised $8 million in July, just a month after launching, and was valued at $25 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reports that this latest funding round values Fab.com at $200 million, a figure Goldberg said "is not incorrect."

Goldberg said that half of its business is coming through social media, which he attributes to a combination of luck and strategy.

"We're growing like a weed because people like to share their latest design finds," he said, mentioning not just Facebook and Twitter but Google+ and Pinterest. "Part of our core DNA is social media and sharing. It's baked into the site. We get out of the way of the user."

Up next, he said, will come new categories of products and innovative tools for boosting social discovery even more.

Update 5:40 PT: This story has been updated throughout.