At some point during my adolescence, I found out that if I sorted my hoards of stuff into groupings of similar items, it turned me from a “packrat” into a “collector.” This was awesome, and since then I have become a collector of many things, including vintage cameras, unicorn figurines, Blythe dolls, washi tape, and any jewelry I think will make me look like a “Mad Men” character. Like other collectors, I usually rely on Etsy, eBay, and small stores to find my new doohickeys and thingamabobs, as well as online forums to find other people with similar obsessions. Surfing around the Internet has served me well so far, but a startup called Gemr believes it can make locating desirable items much easier for collectors.
Gemr, which currently has an beta iOS app out and is building a website community, has raised a $4.9 million Series A for its platform, which uses proprietary tech to help people find and value collectibles. Investors include James B. Hawkes, the former chairman and CEO of Eaton Vance Corp., and co-founder Gary Sullivan, who is also an appraiser on PBS’s “Antique Roadshow.” The capital will be used to finish development of its iOS and Android apps, build a Web app, and fuel a national marketing campaign.
Items on the app for sale include a lot of the same things I find on eBay or Etsy—vintage jewelry, old comic books, and housewares, for example. The platform and online community wants to stand out, however, by letting members value items using something called CrowdScore technology, which it says gives sellers and buyers real-time market feedback and valuation on items they post.
Founded in 2013 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Gemr is currently beta testing its app and online community and plans to officially launch in early 2015. For its user base, it plans to target people like the 100 million viewers of TV programs such as “Antiques Roadshow” and “American Pickers.”
“Today collectors manage their items by jumping from one web service to another. They buy and sell on eBay, communicate and share on Facebook, identify their aspirations on Pinterest, but they can’t do everything in one place. Gemr’s solving that problem,” said founder and CEO Terry Anderton in a statement.