Our perspective

Doubling Down on Whatnot: Making Online Shopping Fun and Social

Laela Sturdy and Alex Nichols
21 Jul 2022
Whatnot Founders

We’re thrilled to co-lead Whatnot’s Series D just 10 months after co-leading the company’s Series C

When did online shopping become so boring? What used to be such a novel category has stagnated from a lack of innovation in user experience. For the last 20 years, consumers have come to ecommerce sites to search for products they already knew they wanted. What if users don’t know exactly what they want or seek to discover something entirely new? What if they want to meet, and engage with, other like-minded collectors and shoppers as they pursue their next finds? Unfortunately, most existing commerce sites today are stagnant and un-engaging.

Whatnot changes the status quo by infusing the online shopping experience with something that has long been missing: fun.

Whatnot fuses entertainment, social media, and commerce, making shopping and collecting much more enjoyable through engaging content and a dynamic community. Live video streams and social features make it easy for shoppers to discover new products while spending time with like-minded collectors. Whatnot’s unique combination of social-media-like engagement with best-in-class ecommerce commercialization creates a powerful combination.

It’s not just buyers who love the user experience; so do sellers. Many thousands of highly engaged sellers have joined Whatnot both to build strong user communities and to leverage the unique monetization potential of the platform.

Live and social commerce platforms are already ubiquitous in China; in fact, more than half the population uses them every month. Live commerce is a $600 billion business in China, representing 20% of the Chinese ecommerce market and doubling annually. Pinduoduo, a popular platform there, has leveraged its social features to grow to $400 billion of gross merchandise value (GMV). We believe that live and social shopping features will define the future of commerce in the West, too.

When we co-led Whatnot’s $150 million Series C in September 2021, it was one of the fastest growing marketplaces we’d ever seen. It still is–and the company is just getting started.

In the 10 months since we co-led Whatnot’s Series C, the company has successfully launched and scaled dozens of new categories (including many outside of collectibles), tripled the size of its team, and grown exponentially. The company’s successful entrance into so many new categories showcases the tremendous horizontal potential of the platform.

Of course, the most important factor for any company is the quality of the team. It has been a joy to partner with Grant, Logan and the entire Whatnot team. In a historically competitive labor market, Grant and Logan have attracted first-rate talent across all levels of the organization while cultivating a focused, scrappy culture that has enabled the company to ship products and launch new categories at breakneck pace. In fact, Whatnot is executing on all cylinders–building exceptional products, building a world class team, and amassing an army of loyal buyers and sellers.

While Whatnot is quickly emerging as the leader in an enormous new market, we know it’s just beginning to scratch the surface of what the company will accomplish. We are thrilled to co-lead Whatnot’s Series D and couldn’t be more excited to deepen our partnership with this incredible team as we support them on their journey to make online shopping fun.

Special thanks to Derrick Chow for his contributions to this investment.

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