Whatnot, the live-stream shopping platform and marketplace for collectors and enthusiasts, announces $4M in seed funding

When this press release landed in the Toy Wizards inbox, I immediately found it very intriguing. We are all fairly certain that the convention climate isn’t going to heal anytime soon, and this app might be a new and useful platform for toy collectors and sellers to connect. Aspects of online conventions are definitely going to be here to stay even after live events resume, there’s no doubt there. I am very curious to see what Whatnot is going to be like and if it will make the impact in the toy collecting world that many sellers need to stay afloat. All official details are below.

Official Press Release via Whatnot:

Specializing in verified products from passionate communities like FunkoPop and Pokemon, sales on Whatnot have grown on average 60%+ month over month since the company’s founding 

Los Angeles, CA — Today, Whatnot announced it has raised $4M in seed funding with participation from Scribble Ventures, Wonder Ventures, Operator Partners, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Twenty Two Ventures and other investors. The company plans to use the funds to invest in growing the team, scaling their operations and expanding into new categories including video games, comics books, designer toys and vintage fashion.

While the first generation of online marketplaces created the opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to transact with one another for the first time, these platforms are also plagued by fraudulent activity with few safeguards to guarantee authenticity and protect community members. Whatnot not only takes the guesswork and risk out of buying and selling items online, but has also built a live streaming platform that enables its community to connect and interact in real time to buy and sell the hottest collectibles & items they want.

“Fandom had always had a place online, but truly thrived at in-person events and local retailers that catered to collectors and enthusiasts’ interest in one-of-a-kind and holy grail items,” said co-founder and CTO Logan Head. “We built Whatnot not just to enable transactions, but to capture the fun of the in-person experience, so our communities can connect in real-time and geek out with their favorite sellers.”

Instead of focusing on the retailer-to-consumer relationship, Whatnot builds peer-to-peer connections within existing communities, driving high adoption and conversion. While some sellers on Whatnot are small businesses, 90+% of Whatnot sellers are enthusiasts who buy and sell their favorite items as a hobby or side-hustle.

Since its launch in December 2019, Whatnot has gained thousands of sellers and tens of thousands of buyers on the platform. Sales have grown on average 60%+ month over month, and its most popular sellers have sold more than $2M in items, with the average livestream bringing in thousands of dollars in sales. 

“Live streaming is a $150B market in China, and retailers of all stripes are trying out live selling for themselves, “ said Dustin Rosen, Managing Partner, Wonder Ventures. “We think that by tapping into the collectible and enthusiast communities, Whatnot is perfectly positioned to capitalize on live streaming’s early success in the US.” 

“The collectibles industry is and always has been a huge business. Nostalgia is a powerful factor in many individuals’ lives. It is something that connects your everyday person to their favorite YouTube stars, Artists, and other celebrities.” Said John Stibich (PokeRadar) on Whatnot. “The interaction and strong community aspect has allowed Whatnot to help the everyday collector turn their hobby or passion into a successful business. With access to live auctions and sales, it lowers the barrier of entry for those that are looking to sell and provide live breaks of Pokemon, Sports, Yugioh, and all other collectible card games.”

About Whatnot

Whatnot is a live-streaming platform and marketplace that allows collectors and enthusiasts to connect with their community to buy and sell verified products on a safe and secure platform. Whatnot takes the guesswork and risk out of buying and selling items online, verifying each item and holding buyers and sellers to a high code of conduct, so users can focus on the most fun parts of the experience. Whatnot is based in Los Angeles, CA and has 11 employees. For more information, visit www.whatnot.com or download the Whatnot app on Android or iOS

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