Earlier this month, the company announced it had closed on a $14 million Series A funding round led by the Chicago-based firm Jump Capital. Other investors included Gradient Ventures, XRC Labs, Victress Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Best Fund, AngelList Early-Stage Quant Fund and executives from Brooks Brothers, Chubbies and Klaviyo.
The new investment brought Recurate’s total funding to more than $17.5 million—nearly twice that of its self-described “competitors,” Archive, Treet and Reflaunt. The total pales in comparison to a long-established resale mainstay like ThredUp, which raised $175 million in 2019 during its last funding round. The luxury resale platform Vestiaire Collective raised $209 million during its most recent funding round last year.
Recurate, however, is following a different path than these recommerce giants. Founded in 2020, the young company focuses on providing brands with the technology to build their own resale endeavor directly on their e-commerce site—or on a separate subsite. It currently works with more than 40 brands across fashion, accessories, outdoor and footwear, including Steve Madden, Frye and Mara Hoffman. It expects this number to grow to more than 100 by the end of the year.
“Up until this point, we’ve been onboarding brands, really sort of proving product market fit,” Wilson Griffin, co-founder and chief operating officer, told Sourcing Journal. “What we’re really excited about with this Series A is now we have all this additional funding and resources at our back, so we can just continue to build out services and the product offerings that we have, make it even more impactful for our existing brands and then obviously onboard new brands as well.”
One of the places Recurate plans to invest its new funding is in data. “We’ve always seen resale as potentially a really rich opportunity for brands to get more data on products especially, but also, sort of, customer behavior,” Griffin said. If a brand can track when an item is bought and returned, he added, it can gain more visibility into the average length of ownership, how long certain types of customers hold onto their items and when individuals are in the market to make an additional purchase.
The company also wants to use data to quantify the “significant” environmental benefits from buying a product used versus new, Griffin said. In particular, he suggested Recurate might measure greenhouse gas emissions and water usage savings.
“Pre-loved products aren’t manufactured, so there’s zero supply chain impact on that second purchase,” he said. “Obviously, there was when it was initially made, but on that second sale, it’s really just the transportation from the seller to the buyer. So, we want to create more tools for brands to be able to quantify that and tell that story and share it back with their individual customers.”
Recurate intends to expand its support for additional inventory streams as well. Though the company has typically focused its efforts on facilitating peer-to-peer resale, it also supports brands that use their retail channels to sell returns. The new funding will “further” enable partners to monetize returned and unsold inventory, Recurate said. Griffin also noted a desire to support businesses, such as vintage shops, with a curated inventory. “We want to give them tools so that they can also bring those products online,” he said.
“We see a lot of our brands that are doing peer-to-peer only, they’re very interested in adding returns and take-back, and for our brands that are doing take-back first or returns first, they have interest in adding peer-to-peer,” Griffin said. “The future that we see is really an all-of-the-above future and brands that are the leaders in this space are going to really offer all of those options to their customers.”
The company additionally plans to invest in tools that can simplify the listing process for sellers. With more brands adding RFID tags or QR codes so they can track products through their lifecycle and communicate information to the consumer, Recurate hopes to leverage these connected features as not just an authentication tool, but another way for sellers to list their items for sale. Though the company’s work in this area is currently limited—it offers this option with products from the New York-based brand Another Tomorrow—it anticipates “a lot of growth” as more brands embrace connected products, Griffin said.
The co-founder said Recurate also wants to build out image recognition tools that would accomplish the same goal of telling sellers the exact product they have in their hand.
“We have such amazing brands today that are giving us feedback and information on where they see value in their resale channels,” Griffin said. “Now with this additional funding we can really partner with them and bring some of those tools and requests into being.”