The funding environment for startups across the globe has been challenging for the past year, but some sectors are still attracting checks as if it was 2021. In Asia, one such sector appears to be the luxury fashion resale market, particularly for platforms that are seeing an uptick in users and sales.
Kream, a reselling platform that lets people buy, sell and trade luxury goods like handbags, clothing and accessories, has raised a $168 million (220.6 billion won) in a Series C round that values it at about $742 million, more than double its previous valuation of $306 million in October 2021.
The new funding comes in the wake of a stellar couple of quarters at Kream: The company says its monthly active users have more than doubled to 5.3 million from 2.2 million last October, and its gross merchandise value shot up by 270% and 190% in Q3 and Q4, respectively, from a year earlier.
Altos Ventures, a returning backer, led the Series C. Search engine and e-commerce giant Naver, SoftBank Ventures Asia, Mirae Asset Capital and new investors Samsung Securities and Axiom Asia also participated in the round.
Kream was spun off from Snow, a camera app-focused branch of Naver, in January 2021. It has now raised a total of over $266 million.
The reselling platform has been making minority stake investments in its Asian peers, including Japan’s Soda, Thailand’s Sasom and Malaysia’s sneakers platform Shake Hands. The company will use the Series C funds to make more investments, mainly in Asia, chief business officer (CBO) Mingook Kim told TechCrunch, in line with its long-term goal of strategically connecting Asia-based reselling platforms so that its users can leverage Kream and its C2C resale affiliates to buy and sell luxury items.
Kream will also add more luxury items and emerging brands to its platform and expand its staff. It currently employs around 100 people.
Kream considers StockX and Hong Kong-based POIZON as its closest competitors. Its peers also include luxury goods resale platforms like Rebag, The RealReal, and Vestiaire Collective.
One of the biggest pain points for C2C reselling platforms is counterfeit goods, particularly for luxury items. Kim says Kream is working to implement an inspection program to eliminate that pain point for its users.
After a seller lists their goods on the platform, the product will be sent to Kream’s inspection center, where it will be inspected for its authenticity. If their product passes internal inspection, the seller can go ahead and sell their product to the buyer. Once a transaction is completed between consumers, no refund is allowed, but the buyer can resell via the platform, a company spokesperson explained.
“Kream has tried to resolve the reliability of products and inconvenient transaction processes that customers felt most uncomfortable about while using C2C reselling platforms,” Kim said when asked about its differentiator. “Kream has secured the most data in South Korea to guarantee genuine products.”
The luxury goods resale market was estimated to be worth $30 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at 10% to 15% every year for the next decade, per a recent report by Mckinsey.