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.
Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.
Valence is trying to be more than just a LinkedIn for Black professionals. It's trying to narrow the wealth gap, with help from algorithms.
The social networking platform for Black professionals launched last year and has already attracted 10,000 members. It just got a $5.25 million boost from a Series A round led by GGV Capital.
- Valence Launches Funding Network to Connect Black-Owned ... ›
- With internships cancelled, Valence tries to fill the void for young ... ›
- Valence Funding Network Intends to Boost Black Startups - dot.LA ›
California is the world's largest legal pot market, generating nearly $3.1 billion in spending in the Golden State alone. But cannabis-related businesses in the U.S. live in a legal-limbo, operating in this strange gray area between federal laws that make marijuana illegal and states that have decriminalized its use and sale entirely. This has led to sometimes difficult choices, workarounds and issues with which the cannabis and cannabis-linked companies are forced to contend.
dot.LA dove into this tenuous landscape during a virtual panel discussion on Tuesday with experts in cannabis compliance and legal issues, asking them: Is the green rush over? The consensus seemed to be that no, it isn't, but this first wave of "reckless money," likely is.
Tuesday's conversation on the current state and future of California's marijuana marketplace capped off the conclusion of dot.LA's five-part investigative series examining the rapid rise and rapid fall of L.A.-based Genius Fund, a one-time $164 million cannabis company. Today that money is gone and their Russian oligarch investor is dead.
Hilary Bricken, Partner of Harris Bricken
Hilary Bricken, Partner of Harris Bricken<p>Since joining Harris Bricken in 2010, Hilary has earned a reputation as an exceptional and fearless business law attorney. Hilary's clients—start-ups, entrepreneurs, and companies in all stages of development—value her bold approach to business strategy. Hilary also appears before city councils and community forums, where she advocates tirelessly for her clients.</p><p>In 2017, the American Bar Association (ABA) named Hilary one of the <a href="https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2017/07/aba_young_lawyersdi/" target="_blank">top 40 young lawyers</a> nationwide and before that <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2013/12/14/newsmakers-of-2013-deal-makers.html" target="_blank">The Puget Sound Business Journal</a> named her as one of only seven deal makers of the year. She was by far the youngest and the only private practice attorney to garner this honor. Hilary was also named one of "<a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/print-edition/2015/09/11/2015-40-under-40-hilary-bricken.html" target="_blank">40 Under 40</a>" leading businesspeople by the PS Business Journal. In every year since 2014, Hilary has been chosen as a "Rising Star" lawyer by Super Lawyer's magazine.</p><p>Major media outlets like the New York Times, VICE, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Business Insider, CNN, Rolling Stone, Forbes, MSNBC, and Bloomberg all have turned to Hilary for her on-the-ground perspective on cannabis laws. Hilary's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M4Fse1Ioaw" target="_blank">Tedx talk</a> on "big cannabis" (see below) has garnered more than 50,000 views and she also authors a weekly column for <a href="https://abovethelaw.com/tag/hilary-bricken/" target="_blank">Above the Law </a>on marijuana policy and regulation.</p>
Tanya Hoke, Managing Director of Galen Diligence
Tanya Hoke, Managing Director of Galen Diligence<p>Tanya has more than a dozen years of experience managing investigative due diligence for clients in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals and manufacturing to financial services and consulting. She has been advising investors in the cannabis industry since 2015, and focuses on issues relating to fraud, money-laundering, compliance, and corporate governance. Tanya is a Certified Fraud Examiner, a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, and a licensed private investigator. She has served on the National Cannabis Industry Association's Banking & Financial Services Committee and the State Regulations Committee. Tanya received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College and a Master of International Business degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she serves on the MIB Alumni Advisory Board.</p>
Brad Rowe, Director of Compliance, Operations and Regulations Analyst of Rowe Policy Media
Brad Rowe, Director of Compliance, Operations and Regulations Analyst of Rowe Policy Media<p>Brad has designed, implemented and delivered a dozen public policy research projects over the last six years through his time running BOTEC Analysis, at UCLA and with Avenu/MuniServices Cannabis Compliance and Support Services and Rowe Policy + Media. Brad is Lecturer of Public Policy at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and recently started teaching Cannabis Policy and Society, the first of its kind in the country. </p><p>He serves as Advisor to the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, coordinating the Criminal and JuvenileJustice Research team and the California Cannabis Data Collection Project. He sat on the CommunityAdvisory Committee for the Los Angeles County Department of Health's impact assessment on cannabis. </p><p>In 2020 Brad has taken on the cannabis "dosing problem". To help naive and legacy consumers dose new cannabis products predictably and reliably. The HowHi App Data Project provides evidence based insights into the Quality, Duration and Amplitude of the cannabis experience. The variables are crowd-sourced via experiential self-reports on iOS and Android interfaces. </p>
Andrew Freedman, Senior Vice President at Forbes Tate Partners
Andrew Freedman, Senior Vice President at Forbes Tate Partners<p>Andrew brings vast experience from his three years as the State of Colorado's first Director of Cannabis Coordination. During this time, he developed distinctive experience effectively implementing voter-mandated legalized adult-use and medical cannabis while protecting public health, maintaining public safety, and keeping cannabis out of the hands of children.<br><br>Andrew's role in developing a successful operating model for cannabis regulation and stakeholder collaboration was identified as one of the reasons for the State of Colorado's success in implementing adult-use cannabis legalization by the Brookings Institution. Governor Hickenlooper has gone so far as to praise Andrew's work while on national television, stating, "Andrew Freedman, who came in and helped us once it was passed . . . [has] done a remarkable job of creating a regulatory framework."<br><br>Andrew has received national recognition for his leadership. Men's Health Magazine named him one of the 30 most influential health influencers of the last 30 years. He was recognized as one of Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business" in 2016. He has been featured on 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Governing Magazine, and dozens of local stories throughout the nation and internationally.</p>
Tami Abdollah, Senior Reporter at dot.LA
Tami Abdollah, Senior Reporter at dot.LA<p>Tami Abdollah is dot.LA's senior technology reporter. She was previously a national security and cybersecurity reporter for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. She's been a reporter for the AP in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and for L.A.'s NPR affiliate KPCC. Abdollah spent nearly a year in Iraq as a U.S. government contractor. A native Angeleno, she's traveled the world on $5 a day, taught trad climbing safety classes and is an avid mountaineer.</p>
- The Rise and Fall of Genius Fund's $164M Cannabis Empire - dot.LA ›
- Tech Companies are Getting Caught in Marijuana Regulation - dot.LA ›
- Green Rush: What Went Down in Adelanto - dot.LA ›