The investment news comes as livestream shopping has risen in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the ability to shop in stores, consumers flocked to digital channels to purchase everything from groceries and everyday needs to sporting goods and apparel. Retailers and brands looking to capitalize on the surge of online shoppers have increased their technology investments to make the online shopping experience more personalized, curated and influential.
Popshop Live’s investment round included a number of high-profile names in the venture capital space and celebrity world. The funding was led by venture capital firm Benchmark, with participation from TQ Ventures (Andrew Marks, Schuster Tanger, and Scooter Braun), Mantis VC (The Chainsmokers), Access Industries and SV Angel as well as return investors Floodgate, Abstract Ventures and Long Journey Ventures. Individual investors included Sophia Amoruso, Baron Davis, Jim Lanzone, Kevin Mayer, Vivi Nevo, Michael Ovitz, Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner. As part of the funding deal, Benchmark’s Matt Cohler will also join the board.
“Livestream commerce is not just a trend in China and through the pandemic, it is an emerging multi-billion-dollar phenomenon whose growth is accelerating every day,” Cohler said in a statement. “[CEO and Founder] Dan Dan has created something fundamentally new, unbounded, and powerful. Her tenacity and commitment to her vision of creating a marketplace for culture is singular.”
COVID-19 lockdown measures influenced a number of major retailers and brands to accelerate their technology investments to make shopping online more enticing to consumers. From virtual fitting rooms at Walmart to augmented reality by Yeti, technology additions are helping brands and retailers stand out--and help consumers spend through digital channels. Livestream shopping is another emerging technology trend that more retailers--and even social media giant Facebook--are taking on.
Sellers that use Popshop Live report higher engagement on the platform, which taps a number of smaller brands that appeal to younger consumers, compared to a typical weekend of in-person shopping. Popshop sellers gross upwards of $500,000, with nearly 80% of customers returning to make a second purchase within 30 days, according to Popshop.
“Popshop Live was a valuable alternative shopping platform as traditional in-person retail halted during the pandemic,” Jill Renslow, executive vice president of business development and marketing at Mall of America, said in a statement. “Even as the world continues to open up and we welcome shoppers back to Mall of America, we plan to continue live stream shopping to reach new customers in a unique way.”
While Popshop did not disclose the number of sellers on its platform nor the exact funding amount, the company did divulge the number of sellers has grown 500% in the last three months, with expansion into new categories including vintage fashion, furniture, collectibles and food products from sellers 3D Retro, JapanLA, Earthing.VIP, Kettle & Fire and Mall of America.
Popshop also announced two new additions to its team: Bangaly Kaba has joined to lead platform growth and Jason Droege has been appointed to take on Popshop’s expansion. Both are tech industry veterans, with Kaba hailing from Instagram and Instacart, while Droege formerly served as head of Uber Eats.
The funding, coupled with the new hires, will accelerate Popshop Live’s product and regional expansion as the company continues to grow.
“Bangaly and Jason are forces to be reckoned with and we’re thrilled to welcome them to our team,” said Popshop Live CEO and Founder Dan Dan Li. “Their combined expertise, along with that of our new backers, will accelerate the expansion of our platform across geographies, verticals and product features.”