How GOAT Plans to Dominate the Worldwide Luxury Apparel Market

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

GOAT Group chief operating officer Yunah Lee
Courtesy of Upfront Ventures

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After emerging as one of Los Angeles’ most well-funded and talked-about startups last year, online sneaker and apparel marketplace GOAT now has its sights set abroad.

Speaking at the Upfront Summit venture capital conference on Wednesday, GOAT Group chief operating officer Yunah Lee said international expansion is now the priority for the Culver City-based startup. GOAT opened offices in mainland China last year—its headcount there has already quadrupled, she noted—and also recently cut the ribbon on offices in Singapore and Japan.


Having sold $2 billion in merchandise on its platform in 2020 and doubled its valuation to $3.7 billion last year, GOAT now has 1,500 employees and 16 offices globally.

GOAT Group chief operating officer Yunah Lee speaking at the Upfront Summit.

Courtesy of GOAT

“We want to continue to focus on our international expansion in western Europe, southeast Asia and eastern Asia, and also continue to focus on our luxury fashion, apparel and accessories categories,” Lee said.

The COO mentioned that part of GOAT’s motivation for international expansion is to serve a diverse worldwide customer base that has different tastes depending on where they’re from. In Europe, she noted, many buyers don’t wear high-top shoes—whereas in the U.S., it’s virtually impossible to call yourself a sneakerhead without a pair of classic Air Jordan 1s. The Middle East, she added, is developing an insatiable appetite for Kanye West’s Yeezy shoe line.

Having a diverse customer base “allows us to create that global buyer-and-seller network to bring the products that these folks don't have access to easily,” Lee said. Geographic diversity is also key to courting luxury brands like Versace, Alexander McQueen and Polo Ralph Lauren, which are increasingly looking to outlets like GOAT as valuable resale marketplaces and have courted it for merchandise partnerships.

Launched in 2015 as a way for co-founder and CEO Eddy Lu and his college friends to authenticate real Air Jordans apart from fake ones, GOAT is now one of the hottest startups in Los Angeles, according to a recent dot.LA survey of venture capitalists. The company landed a $195 million funding round led by Park West Asset Management last June and has raised some $493 million to date, according to PitchBook data.

According to a recent study from Cowen, the sneaker and streetwear resale market is growing 20% annually and is estimated to surpass $30 billion in global sales by 2030.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

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Christian Hetrick

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Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

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For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.

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