As Valentine’s Day approaches TrueFacet is looking to expand its onlline marketplace for secondhand jewelry with $1.7 million in fresh financing.
Backing the company’s vision of a transparent market for secondhand jewelry are a slew of well known investors. Maveron, Social Leverage, Founders Coop and Trilogy out of Seattle have all bought in to it’s founder’s vision of a one-stop shop for fairly priced priceless gifts.
Items on the site range from the mid-level Tiffany piece, to more expensive limited edition jewelry and watches.
The recent Techstars Seattle alumnus was founded by Tirath Kamdar, a former marketing executive at Fab who has spent his entire life in and around the jewelry business.
Forty years ago, Kamdar’s relatives opened Gemerals — a division of the Indian company Mahendra Brothers, a longtime DeBeers partner – in New York and Chicago.
It was in Chicago that Kamdar first gained exposure to his family’s jewelry business, where he spent eight years, and to the startup world which would occupy another four.
Kamdar attributes his move into startups to an encounter with GroupOn founder, Brad Keywell. Seeing Kamdar’s unique background in both jewelry and high finance (Kamdar had worked as an employee of JPMorgan Chase) Keywell recruited Kamdar to join Pawngo, the online pawn shop that Keywell was incubating. From the pawnshop Kamdar was moved into GroupOn.
GroupOn led to business school which led to AhaLife in New York and eventually Fab.
“I was there during the ride up and there during the ride down,” he says. When the executive team began looking for escape routes, Kamdar thought about his own next steps and settled on TrueFacet to address problems he saw firsthand in the $70 billion jewelry market. The problem? How to bring price transparency to the online market for secondhand jewelry.
“There’s a problem that exists with the shopper,” says Kamdar. “Forty percent of the branding out there is counterfeit.”
Beyond counterfeit jewelry, there’s little price transparency in the market, which is terrible for both buyers and sellers, Kamdar says.
Using TrueFacet, buyers and sellers can get real-time pricing at market rates. Users of the marketplace can submit an item and get their jewelry priced in six seconds. Once an item is accepted it’s sent to New York where appraisers can verify the authenticity of a piece.
“No piece of merchandise ever gets to the shopper unless it goes through our authentication system,” he says.
So far there are 4,500 items on the platform listed by 2,200 sellers. Already, TrueFacet has processed 10,000 items for certification.
“All our marketing focus have been on the demand side,” says Kamdar. “It’s a word of mouth effect. we’re doing a lot of partnerships with fashion bloggers.”