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How Grailed Nails the High-End Recommerce Marketplace Game

All the cool kids know that when it comes to getting the most in-demand men’s wear labels for less, Grailed is the place to be.

CEO and co-founder Arun Gupta said Grailed was born five years ago out of a “shared love for men’s wear.” The peer-to-peer—or “community driven,” as Grailed describes it—marketplace serves as a destination where hypebeasts can buy, sell and barter new and used, highly covetable fashion, footwear and accessories, often for less than the full retail price. When new drops from of-the-moment brands like Supreme sell out in minutes, fanboys know to flock to Grailed, where items from the new collection pop up almost immediately. As it’s grown, Grailed has expanded its focus, becoming the platform of choice for exclusive brand collaborations.

Grailed joins a growing list of e-commerce or “re-commerce” sites including Poshmark, The RealReal and others that let consumers access the brands and styles they crave, even (or perhaps especially) if they’re secondhand. What’s more, Grailed is tapping into the zeitgeist in which “It” kids mix skate- and streetwear with high-end labels like Céline and Comme des Garçons to create looks entirely their own—and entirely Instagrammable.

The platform is also seizing a moment in which men are stepping from the shadows and eagerly participating in fashion—once a realm best left to women. What matters is not so much how you snagged that hard-to-find Yeezus T-shirt—brand new or through re-sale after months of searching—but simply that you got it.

One of the things that makes Grailed so irresistible to brand-obsessed shoppers is its carefully curated point of view. It’s highly selective about the labels that appear on the platform, so that buyers don’t have to scroll endlessly in order to find something great.

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Grailed’s editorial marketplace concept is catching the eye of investors, too. It recently closed a $15-million Series A funding round led with Index Ventures, which has also invested in companies like Facebook, Farfetch, Adyen, ASOS and Dropbox. Thrive Capital, which has helped to fund children’s e-commerce site Maisonette and Instacart, also participated, as did Simon Ventures, the retail-tech-focused venture fund run by Simon Property Group with investments in retail leasing startup Appear Here and FabFitFun.

To date, Grailed has raised approximately $20 million and will use the new funds to build its marketing reach, finetune the customer experience, increase the depth of products available and grow Heroine, its women’s wear-focused sister site.

“Grailed’s track record of organic growth and success in cultivating a devoutly loyal audience demonstrates the passion and consideration the team pours into creating a dynamic marketplace that users have come to love,” Danny Rimer, general partner at Index Ventures, said. “We believe Grailed is uniquely positioned in the fashion resale market and we look forward to supporting the company in realizing its substantial opportunity ahead.”