Three years ago, fashion marketplace Poshmark launched on iOS with an app that allowed women to buy and sell secondhand items, including clothing, shoes and other accessories, right from their mobile device. The company, which has since expanded to Android and the web as of last year, has now grown its online community to include millions of registered users, and is on track to double its revenue in just six months this quarter to $200 million in annual sales. Today, Poshmark is also announcing $25 million in Series C funding, with investment from Mayfield, Menlo Ventures, Inventus Capital, Union Grove Venture Partners, Shea Ventures, and SoftTech VC.
To date, Poshmark has raised $47.2 million in outside capital.
While there are a number of competitors in the online fashion resale space today, including luxury consignment site The RealReal which also this month took in an additional $40 million in new funding, what makes Poshmark different from many of these sites is that it doesn’t play middleman when it comes to managing the transactions that take place on its platform.
Instead, Poshmark’s buyers and sellers connect with each other directly, similar to a marketplace like eBay, for example. Poshmark, meanwhile, simply provides a suite of tools for these buyers and sellers to take advantage of – ranging from print-out shipping labels to secure payment transfers to an optional authentication service for high-end goods and more.
Today, says founder and CEO Manish Chandra, there are over 700,000 sellers on the platform, and, at any given time, there are over 10 million items for sale on Poshmark. Also unlike sites like The RealReal, which solely focuses on the luxury market, items on Poshmark can be anything from a $25 “fast fashion” article of clothing to a $5,000 handbag, the CEO says.
Poshmark’s decision to style itself as a platform as opposed to a company that has to house inventory itself has allowed the company to scale rapidly. Its sellers upload over $2 million of new inventory daily to its service, and Poshmark processes millions of orders daily. The bulk of the order volume on the site is everyday fashion, but, of course, the sale of high-end items contribute more to the bottom line.
The company has also benefitted from its “mobile-first” approach, existing as an app long before it was ever a website. Today, that focus is still reflected in its user base, where over 90% of users are on mobile, and over 90% of revenue comes from mobile as well. And when those users are actively buying or selling, they’re highly engaged – checking in on their sales seven to nine times per day and spending over 20 minutes on Poshmark’s service.
“The number of buyers and sellers has remained equal on the platform,” notes Chandra. “And that’s a testament to our social and mobile focus,” he says. “That gives us what we think of as an infinitely scalable marketplace where it’s not constrained on either side.”
He also attributes Poshmark’s success to its matching algorithm, which connects women with relevant items of interest, and Poshmark’s support for human curation, where women are styling and sharing their merchandise in collections and online “parties” for others to discover.
Now, the service that began as a resale marketplace for individuals selling their own items is starting to see a shift in its user base. Today, a small but growing percentage (around 5%-7%) of sellers are buying wholesale goods new and then reselling them on Poshmark at retail prices. And some sellers are building their own consignment shops on Poshmark where they sell items on behalf of others. Meanwhile, there’s also a growing number of indie designers selling items they’ve created themselves, as they would on a site like Etsy.
Poshmark plans to tap into this expanding “fashion salesforce” of independent merchants who reach customers on mobile, and is hoping to connect with bigger fashion brands who want to leverage its community to find new customers for themselves.
With the new funding, company is planning to move into new verticals, including men’s and children’s items, hire more staff, and expand internationally into parts of Europe and Asia.
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The company today is also launching an Apple Watch app that will let consumers keep track of their favorites and their sales from their wrist, which Chandra admits is still something of an experiment. But it’s one he’s betting big on – the company is giving all its employees an Apple Watch for free, in fact.
“Anything that increases the efficiency of communication and information…has the opportunity to be a killer platform,” he says.
No one believed him a few years ago when he said he would build an entire marketplace on the iPhone, Chandra points out. “If I didn’t have a successful company before that, I wouldn’t have even gotten a term sheet,” he says. But Poshmark proved that mobile could be an advantage in terms of scaling its business. “And if Apple Watch is going to be the next killer platform…we need to be ahead of the curve.”