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Trendsi gets $25M to bridge apparel's supply chain gaps

Oct 18, 2022
Illustration of a conveyor belt with packages surrounded by shapes and dollar elements.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Trendsi, a startup that connects sellers with suppliers, will expand into new product categories as it works to grant merchants better inventory visibility, CEO Ella Zhang tells Axios.

Why it matters: Dead inventory — products that don’t sell — can cost retail companies billions of dollars of revenue, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

  • Even the largest retailers had to mark down products to clear an inventory glut this year, which has been precipitated by supply chain disruptions.

Driving the news: San Francisco-based Trendsi raised $25 million in a Series A led by Lightspeed Venture Partners this month.

  • Basis Set Ventures, Footwork VC, Peterson Ventures and Sierra Ventures participated.
  • This brings the total funding raised to $30 million.

What’s next: New funds will fuel investments in its back-end technology, data infrastructure, and new product categories, such as home decor, jewelry and makeup, Zhang says.

  • The company has so far focused on women’s apparel.

What they’re saying: “Overstock will eat up [retailers'] cash flow and if it’s understock, they will lose the sales opportunity,” Zhang says.

  • “The essential goal is to leverage all the data you're selling to better match demand and supply to help your boutique business to scale in a lighter and easier way,” she says.

How it works: Trendsi, which also manages back-end supply chain functions, helps retailers strike the right balance between inventory supply and demand.

  • Trendsi helps retailers with drop shipping, a method of fulfilling an order that doesn't require the business to hold inventory.
  • This has been particularly helpful during the pandemic when retailers started selling directly to consumers online.
  • It removes the hassle of sourcing products, managing a warehouse and packaging and shipping.
  • The retailers can focus on marketing, serving customers and managing their storefronts, she adds.

The intrigue: Trendsi provides retailers with more flexible drop ship infrastructure to support and scale their e-commerce operations by leveraging an international team based in the U.S., China and the Philippines.

  • Much of the manufacturing world is in Asia, Zhang says.
  • “We are keen to leverage those manufacturing resources to empower the sellers, small-medium businesses here [in the U.S.], so we need a cross-border team to fulfill this.”
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