The livestream shopping craze continues.
Los Angeles-based Whatnot, an ecommerce app for collectibles and card games, has raised a $20 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz's Connie Chan.
Whatnot's platform — like other livestream apps on the market — allows sellers to demo products and make sales online. The company specializes in collectibles like Pokemon cards and Funko Pops, and uses real-time video to "capture the excitement of the in-person collector experience," Whatnot said in a press release.
The 15-person team will use the boost to hire and expand sales to categories like comic books and vintage video games.
The L.A. startup was founded in 2019 by Logan Head and Grant Lafontaine, former product managers at Facebook and GOAT who grew up buying collectibles from eBay and Yahoo Auctions.
Thursday's news comes just three months after Whatnot landed $4 million in seed funding. Though the company would not provide exact figures, it boasts tens of thousands of buyers and thousands of sellers, some of whom are "on track to make over six figures on the app."
In a blog post announcing the investment, Chan described the booming market of livestream shopping or "shopatainment" as a "a group treasure hunt where the hosts curate items and create a lively environment that makes shopping fun again."
"U.S. companies have been chipping away at building these experiences, but if China tells us anything, it's that the live shopping market is big enough for multiple platforms, niches, and standouts," said the general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
Steve Aoki, Y Combinator, Wonder Ventures, Operator Partners, Scribble Ventures and Visionary Music Group's Chris Zarou also participated in the round.
- The Early-Stage Startups in LA Set to Take Off in 2021 - dot.LA ›
- WhatNot Closes $40 million Series B Round. - dot.LA ›
- Whatnot, the App to Buy Rare Pokemon Cards, Raises $150M - dot.LA ›
Carbonated, Inc., an El Segundo-based mobile gaming studio, announced Friday it raised $8.5 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz, Golden Ventures and Bitkraft Esports Ventures Management.
Founded in 2015, the company develops competitive multiplayer games for cell phones using AI and a live-ops platform they've built called "Carbyne." The technology, its CEO said, makes mobile the gaming experience easier — even when using one hand.
"The challenge historically has been most hardcore games aren't natively designed for mobile (i.e., lots of buttons and virtual d-pads)," Carbonated co-founder and CEO Travis Boatman wrote on Medium. Before creating Carbonated, he and co-founder Lloyd Tulles worked on mobile games including Zynga Poker, Sims Free Play and Simpsons Tapped Out.
"The reason we started the company was that as folks with busy lives and living rooms, we missed playing hardcore competitive games on console and PC," Boatman wrote. "We realized pretty quickly that we're not the only ones and there's a huge underserved market which continues to grow as younger core gamers age up and enter the workforce, like we did."
Boatman said the company is developing mobile technology to target this demographic. They've been working closely with Amazon Game Tech since demoing pieces of Carbyne at Amazon's Game Developers Conference booth in 2019, he said.
The startup has yet to announce a release date for its first project, Madworld, a combat game set in a dystopian world.
Other angel investors and advisors of this recent funding round include Mark Pincus, Kent Wakeford, Shanti Bergel and Chris Ye.
"Our partner criteria has always been more than just purely financial," Boatman wrote. "We look for people with deep industry experience who are willing to roll up their sleeves and dig in. We're thrilled to have partners like that around the table who believe in our team and mission."
Six Los Angeles area startups made venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz's ranking of the top 100 largest and fastest-growing consumer startups and private companies.
Topping the rankings were some of the usual suspects, including Airbnb, Doordash, Postmates, and Instacart. The VC firm labeled them as "some of the most impactful companies in the word economy."
Among the firm's findings is that a small number of marketplace startups — the list's top four — accounted for 76% of consumer spending. And travel, food, and groceries accounted for the largest categories.
"Several emerging categories are intriguing, including local indie brands, celebrity shout-outs, streetwear, fitness memberships, and even car washes," according to the report. "The fastest growing marketplaces are growing really fast — 3x to 5x year-over-year."
Among the Los Angeles startups to make the list:
- GOAT, an online retailer for sneakers and other apparel, ranked No. 16 on the list. The Culver City-based company has some 12 million members and boasts an inventory of 800,000 vintage shoes.
- Wag, the dog walking app considered to be the Uber for pets, ranked No. 24 on the list. The West Hollywood-based company announced last year it landed a $300 million investment from Softbank's Vision Fund.
- Atom Tickets, which uses an app and its website to sell movie tickets and other services, ranked No. 25 on the list. The Santa Monica-based company has a roster of top Hollywood financial backers that includes Walt Disney Co., 20th Century Fox, and Lionsgate.
- Tradesy, an online resale marketplace for buying and selling women's clothes, ranked No. 37 on the list. The Santa Monica-based company counts Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Beyers and Richard Branson as investors.
- ResortPass, an online booking platform for access to hotels for the pool, spa, fitness, and amenities, came in at No. 71 on the list. The Santa Monica-based company has raised about $13 million to date, according to Pitchbook.
- Bloomnation, an online floral marketplace, ranked No. 92 on the list. The Santa Monica-based company is considered an "Etsy-like" platform where 3,500 florists deliver to nearly 5,000 cities.
- The dot.LA/ Pitchbook Top 50 LA Startups for 2020 Q2 - dot.LA ›
- GOAT's $100M Raise Fuels its Trendsetter Ambitions - dot.LA ›
- Tradesy Online Thrift Shop Raises $67 Million - dot.LA ›
- Elodie Games Raises $32.5 Million from Andreessen Horowitz - dot.LA ›