Los Angeles: Today, Whatnot announced it has raised $20M in Series A funding, led by Connie Chan, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Y Combinator, Wonder Ventures, Operator Partners, Scribble Ventures, Steve Aoki and Chris Zarou. Raised on the heels of their seed funding round, the company plans to use the funds to rapidly accelerate hiring, and expand into new categories like comic books, vintage video games and hardware, and more.
Co-founded in 2019 by former Facebook and GOAT employees Grant Lafontaine and Logan Head, Whatnot’s live stream shopping platform captures the excitement of the in-person collector experience, allowing communities and fandoms to connect in real-time and geek out with their favorite sellers over holy grail pieces and new products alike. The company currently specializes in live sales and card breaks for popular collectibles like Pokemon cards, sports cards, Funko Pops, and more.
“Many of our biggest and most popular sellers have thriving communities on other platforms, but had to find workarounds to actually buy and sell the pieces their fans were asking for,” said co-founder Logan Head. “Inspired by our own experiences buying and selling collectibles online, Whatnot creates a space that turns online shopping into entertainment, helps people connect live over the things they love and is purpose-built to make it easy to foster both community and commerce.”
Live stream shopping has rocketed in popularity as of late and is a $150B market in countries like China. While both startups and legacy retailers have dabbled in the format, no company in the US has been able to create a sticky experience that allows sellers to foster and directly sell to their community, all while creating an experience that keeps users engaged on an ongoing basis. Whatnot has thousands of sellers and tens of thousands of buyers on the platform, some of whom are on track to make over six figures on the app, with a majority of buyers returning to the app.
“Beginning with Instagram & Facebook, I always tried to find new ways to buy & sell collectibles. Those platforms, however, aren’t designed for direct sales,” said Whatnot sellers Robert Valentine and Lisa Bosco. “When I migrated to Whatnot, I was excited for the new experience to show off collectibles that people loved and increase my sales! Now, I use Instagram to promote my Whatnot Lives and show convention items that occur once every season. Whatnot is the main driver of my sales and with their live feature, I have experienced unprecedented demand that I couldn’t access on other platforms.”