US-based startup Whatnot, a live-stream shopping platform and marketplace to buy and sell authentic collectible items, raised US$ 4M in seed funding on 19 December 2020.
The investors in the seed round included Scribble Ventures, Wonder Ventures, Operator Partners, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Twenty Two Ventures and others. The total funding raised by the startup stands at US$ 5.1M. In March 2020, Whatnot had received pre-seed funding from Y Combinator.
Whatnot is planning to utilize the funds to invest in growing the team, scaling their operations and expanding into new categories including video games, comics books, designer toys and vintage fashion.
Founded in December 2019 by Grant LaFontaine, Gustavo Adolfo Costa Borges and Logan Head, Whatnot has built a live streaming platform that enables its community to connect and interact in real time to buy and sell the hottest collectibles & items they want. While the first generation of online marketplaces created the opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to transact with one another, these platforms are also plagued by fraudulent activity with few safeguards. Whatnot aims to rectify this by taking out the risk out of buying and selling items online.
“Fandom had always had a place online, but truly thrived at in-person events and local retailers that catered to collectors and enthusiasts’ interest in one-of-a-kind and holy grail items. We built Whatnot not just to enable transactions, but to capture the fun of the in-person experience, so our communities can connect in real-time and geek out with their favorite sellers,” said co-founder and CTO Logan Head.
Whatnot builds a peer-to-peer connection within existing communities, instead of focusing on the retailer-to-consumer relationship. While some sellers on Whatnot are small businesses, 90% of Whatnot sellers are enthusiasts who buy and sell their favourite items as a hobby or side-hustle.
Since its inception, Whatnot has gained thousands of sellers and tens of thousands of buyers on the platform. Its sales have been growing on average 60% month over month. The startup also claims that its most popular sellers have sold more than US$ 2M in items, with the average livestream bringing in thousands of dollars in sales.
What Investors have to say
“Live streaming is a US$ 150B market in China, and retailers of all stripes are trying out live selling for themselves,” said Dustin Rosen, Managing Partner, Wonder Ventures. “We think that by tapping into the collectible and enthusiast communities, Whatnot is perfectly positioned to capitalize on live streaming’s early success in the US.”
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