Popshop Live Became Essential for LA Boutiques During the Shutdown. Now It’s Got $3M to Grow
Leslie Ignacio is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and previously worked for El Nuevo Sol, Telemundo and NBC and was named a Chips Quinn Scholar in 2019. As a bilingual journalist, she focuses on covering diversity in news. She's a Los Angeles native who enjoys trips to Disneyland in her free time.
Retail is now live streaming.
Popshop Live, which raised $3 million led by Floodgate and Abstract Ventures, wants users to shop on their phones as if they're browsing through products and interacting with clerks in a store. The live-streaming service takes a new twist on home shopping.
Launched last year by CEO and founder Danielle Li, Popshop Live will use the funds to help build out its audience as the company tries to convince shop owners to set up mini-studios inside their businesses. In all the company has raised $4.5 million.
The idea of the application came to Li back in 2016, after watching hundreds use Snapchat and Periscope to live stream an Obama speech she attended. While online commerce continues to grow, it often lacks that kinetic energy that is found from being around others. And sellers struggle to grow amid a crowded online marketplace.
Popshop Live allows businesses to expand beyond traditional e-commerce engagement, giving customers the chance to be in a store along with thousands of other virtual guests.
Popshop Live Demo Reel
"I think our mission is really to inspire and empower people to expand their identity, experience and connection," she said.
Since the COVID-19 breakout, Li saw a jump in users joining the platform as businesses sought to keep their stores afloat.
Los Angeles boutiques such as Japan LA, Popkiller, 3D Retro, Leanna Lin's Wonderland, Poketo and BellaBar were forced to shut down their physical stores amid the pandemic. Instead, they turned to Popshop Live for support.
"We definitely feel honored that we have an opportunity to become a part of the recovering process for several local stores affected by not only COVID, but also by looting in Los Angeles," said Li.
The application allows shops to share their livestream via their social platforms or to embed it online, while shoppers purchase directly from the stream.
Investors also include Long Journey Ventures, Cyan and Scott Banister, Shrug Capital, Backend Capital and Halogen Ventures. Local Los Angeles investors Watertower Ventures and AET Fund joined in the round.
"Danielle and the Popshop Live team have created the best consumer shopping experience at a time when community and virtual connectedness are needed more than ever," said Ann Miura-Ko, co-founding partner at Floodgate, a seed stage venture capital firm in announcing their support.
Popshop Live is looking beyond brick-and-mortar stores and will host anyone looking to expand their audience from influencers to national retailers. But for now, it's invite only.
"We would like to see Popshop like a platform that people come to have fun, get inspired and connect to their community," said Li.
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Photo by Tami Abdollah
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