Jul 12, 2022 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Verishop raises $40 million series B round

Photo: Courtesy of Verishop

Verishop, the luxury e-commerce site created by former Snapchat chief strategy officer Imran Khan, has raised over $40 million in a series B financing round, bringing its total funds raised to $57.5 million, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The pandemic expedited a shift to e-commerce, but it also created a slew of supply chain issues that have been difficult for emerging brands to manage. Verishop aims to tackle that problem with its new funds.

  • "While there has been significant investment in the digital creator economy, there has been little in the way of support for the creators of brands who are building exceptional physical products," said Khan.
  • "Attracting and supporting these independent and emerging brands so they can thrive, and keeping our shoppers engaged with the best experience possible, is our No. 1 priority."

Details: The round was led by Lion Capital, a consumer-focused investment group, with participation from existing investors.

  • While Verishop didn't disclose its valuation with the new round, Khan confirmed its valuation has increased since it last raised funds in 2018.
  • The money will be used to enhance the company's products and capabilities, specifically by focusing on ways to make it easier for smaller, independent retailers to build their businesses online.
  • For example, it plans to invest more in data insights that can help retailers understand how their products are performing on the platform so that they can better optimize sales. It also plans to offer better product-return solutions and image retouching tools to save smaller companies money and time.

Catch up quick: Khan launched Verishop in 2018 alongside his wife, Cate Khan, formerly head of retail for Amazon-owned Quidsi.

  • The company has aimed to differentiate itself from other e-commerce startups by creating a marketplace with more hands-on help for luxury brands, a clientele that's been mostly neglected by bigger online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
  • In addition to providing a luxury shopping platform for consumers, Verishop also evolved to provide business solutions for brands to make it easier for them to reach and service customers online.
  • As a part of its efforts to connect smaller retailers to a wider set of potential customers, Verishop has built a series of social networking tools on its platform that focus heavily on video product reviews.

By the numbers: Verishop now has over 4,000 brands on its platform, up from 150 at launch, making it one of largest aggregators of independent and emerging retail brands online.

  • Those brands sell over 1.4 billion pieces of inventory across Verishop's platform.
  • As a result of its investments in social networking and video, Verishop had more than 1 million active users per month in 2021, per Khan.
  • The company now has 85 employees, up from roughly 50 at launch.

The big picture: Some of the most successful digital media firms have been able to scale quickly by making it easier for businesses that serve their users to grow by providing them with low-cost, self-serve tools.

  • Facebook did this by making it easier for small businesses to buy and optimize ads on its platform without the help of costly ad agencies. Spotify is doing this by making it easier for independent podcasters to create and distribute content on its platform without expensive production tools.

The bottom line: Verishop aims to do this with e-commerce by making it easier for emerging brands to target and service customers with better data and returns logistics.

  • “The e-commerce ecosystem is ripe for disruption and Imran and his team are well-positioned to lead this important effort," said Matthew Nordby, a partner at Lion Capital. "In a short time frame, Verishop has created invaluable solutions for small and independent brands and creators."
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