Live shopping platform raises $ 150 million
Live-buying platform Whatnot has raised $ 150 million in a Series C funding round, its third round this year and one that propels it to unicorn status with a valuation of $ 1.5 billion.
As TechCrunch noted on Thursday (September 16), Whatnot is tapping into the increasingly popular trend of direct shopping, allowing collectors to buy and sell things like Funko Pops and Pokemon Cards.
The platform started out as a place for standard resale, where people could go to authenticate their Funko Pops and without too much emphasis on live purchases. But when COVID changed everyone’s lives and people started staying at home, Whatnot switched to more live broadcasts and started to grow rapidly.
Read More: Live Auction Startup Whatnot Gets $ 4 Million Seed
Most of the buyers and sellers on the site are not small businesses, but simply enthusiasts who buy and sell collectibles as a hobby or as a side source of income.
What sets Whatnot apart from other digital collector markets is its built-in live streaming capabilities that enable real-time interaction and connection, the company said.
Verified sellers are allowed to upload at any time when they want to hold video auctions. In some cases buyers will know precisely what is up for grabs, while other auctions are more of a bet. For example, there is the “card break” system, where users purchase unassigned portions of an unopened box of collectible cards and watch its contents unveiled live.
According to TechCrunch, the company has started to expand its reach to include items like lapel pins, vintage clothing, sneakers and sports cards, which co-founder Grant LaFontaine says are the biggest driving force behind the game. platform, followed by Pokémon and Funko Pops.
The company’s latest funding round was fueled by returning investors A16Z and Y Combinator’s Continuity fund, as well as a new company, CapitalG (formerly Google Capital). Whatnot also added top angel investors including Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and Logan Paul of the YouTubes, according to the report.