Popshop Live gets $3 million to bring live streaming to shopping

Streaming video has become a huge part of our lives, whether it’s watching your favorite shows on Netflix or getting live TV through Hulu or YouTube or checking out your favorite gamers on Twitch. But streaming is trickling into other facets of our lives, too, whether it’s fitness or the move from physical events to virtual ones.

The next frontier? For Popshop Live, it’s shopping.

Popshop Live is an e-commerce platform that uses streaming video to let sellers both connect with their shoppers and sell their wares in a new way. The company has today announced the close of a $3 million funding round, led by Floodgate and Abstract Ventures, with participation from Long Journey Ventures, Cyan and Scott Banister, Shrug Capital, Backend Capital and Halogen Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to $4.5 million.

Founded by Danielle Li, Popshop Live is a reimagining of the Home Shopping Network, or QVC, for the year 2020. Individual sellers, or established brands and stores, can get on the platform to create and host their own shows. The product also integrates with Shopify to help sellers manage their inventory and POS during the show without any additional hassle.

Popshop Live provides sellers with a playbook for best practices on running their own show. Sellers also get access to gamification features, show templates, real-time performance stats and metrics reports to give them a complete picture of how their show is performing across a wide range of data points.

Japan LA, one of the biggest stores on the platform, did more sales on Popshop Live than its offline and online sales combined on an average Saturday before the pandemic. Popshop Live told TechCrunch that Japan LA did $17,000 in sales with more than 1,500 individual checkouts in a single show. The company has even started reserving a portion of its inventory specifically for sale via Popshop.

“What I love most about our Popshop Live shows is that, with the live videos and interactive features, I’m able to respond to customers’ requests in real time, such as adding any products that the audience sees in the show on the fly,” said Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of Japan LA. “I also love that I’m able to bring the same energy as helping customers in person, but to hundreds of people at once.”

She added that Japan LA is considering setting up a dedicated studio space for Popshop Live shows.

Popshop Live 1 min reel from Popshop on Vimeo.

Sellers can share the link to their show on their social platforms or on their website and direct shoppers to the platform. Once users are on the platform they can browse other shows that they might be interested in.

Cyan Banister, an investor in the platform, also started her own show to sell stuff she had sitting around in her house. She chose to give the profits to charity and matched all sales through her show. In total, she sold $8,000 worth of stuff, and with the matching, gave $16,000 to charities.

I asked Banister if the pandemic, which has stalled offline retail sales significantly, had any impact on her decision to invest in Popshop Live.

“No,” said Banister concisely. “What Danielle is building can shine in or out of a pandemic. It might have been harder to get customers on board, so in a pandemic she benefits from that in that all of these stores need a way to sell their products.”

Banister added that it goes beyond giving businesses a new way to sell their products, as both sellers and shoppers are finding a community within Popshop Live.

The Popshop Live team consists of 17 people, with 70% people of color and 40% women.

The app is currently invite-only and available on iOS. However, readers can download the app here using the code “TECH20.”