Minneapolis-based Kidizen has raised just over half a million in funding for its mobile, peer-to-peer marketplace which allows parents to buy and sell their children’s clothing, toys, shoes and other easily shippable items. The idea is similar to secondhand clothing marketplace ThredUP and several more online consignment shops aimed adults – and typically women – like Poshmark, Twice, or Threadflip, for example. Like several of its competitors, Kidizen doesn’t play the middleman by receiving and selling the items itself – instead, parents handle the packing and shipping, allowing them to save on marketplace fees.
Kidizen sellers retain roughly 90 percent of the selling price, which undercuts much of the competition, the founders previously explained.
Kidizen is growing its niche in a large market. Today’s parents have a number of avenues to sell the clothes their kids outgrew, but have fewer options for selling toys, games, shoes, and other accessories. These days, sellers tend to either hand the items down to another family member or friend, have a yard sale, head over to Craigslist, or, in a more recent trend, are now selling locally through apps like Nextdoor or within one of Facebook’s many “online yard sale” groups.
It’s that latter experience that Kidizen is most directly competitive with, but instead of only offering an opportunity to sell these kinds of items to other parents nearby, it offers the option to have you ship your goods to buyers.
Kidizen, which is only available as a mobile application, has been featured in the iTunes App Store every week since early April, and that visibility has been paying off. Co-founder and CEO Dug Nichols tells us that the community saw over 2,500 transactions in the past month, and sales are growing 50% month-over-month.
Nichols says the app is also proving “sticky” – meaning parents are returning regularly to buy and sell again. Over 55% of registered users are active on a monthly basis, and over 65% of purchases are repeat purchases every month.
With the proof-of-concept idea seemingly starting to pan out, Nichols says the additional funding will be put toward product expansions to Android, web and tablet platforms, plus increased user acquisition strategies and building out the data analytics team.
Nichols is also happy to be running his startup outside the Valley. “I’m incredibly excited about the Minneapolis startup scene over all. There is a lot happening here right now and it truly feels that we’re on the verge of exploding,” he says. “Minneapolis has long been a strong health and med-tech startup scene, but something different is happening now and investors from all over the country are coming to check us out and get in on the action.”
The company is now moving into a startups-only co-working space called Startup Venture Loft along with other area companies, like Divvy, Retrace Health, Evolve, and Export Abroad. Lead Pages, which just raised another $6 million, and Uber are in the building as well, Nichols notes.
Investors in Kidizen, which has now raised $530,000 – more than its original goal of $500K – currently include Gopher Angels, Steve Case, Emil Michael (SVP Uber), Daren Cotter (Founder/CEO Inbox Dollars), Joy Lindsay (Startec VC), Barb Stinnett (Timarron Group), Rob and Ryan Weber (Founders NativeX),
Scott Burns (Founder GovDelivery), and others.