Whatnot, a relatively recent entrant to the online marketplace raised $20 million in its Series A round. Furthermore, the company, seven months before that, had secured $4 million in the seed round.
Why is this important for collectors?
You might be wondering about what sets Whatnot apart from other traditional marketplaces like eBay and other similar platforms that allow people to buy and sell items like sports cards, Pokemon cards, and Funko Pops?
The primary reason why investors have been drawn to Whatnot is due to the live shopping experience the platform offers. During this, sellers host a live stream that is very similar to a live auction or the QVC cable channel:
These live shows allow people to shop side by side in a Twitch meets eBay setting.
The growing market of sports memorabilia
Live shopping, combined with the draw of sports collectibles is expected to boom in the coming years. With a devoted audience and a significant market, Whatnot’s share in that market is expected to rocket.
The company itself expects the market for live shopping is going to be led by sports collectibles. Sticking to this prediction, despite the company focused almost exclusively on buying and selling Funko Pops in 2020, it is rapidly expanding its offerings to sports cards and Pokemon cards.
The owners revealed that Whatnot sells millions of dollars worth of sports cards every month, and this has become their most popular category in 2021. But how does the system work? Well, the company takes an eight percent cut of sellers’ sales, which averages to around $40 per item. Items sell for between $1 and $20,000.
The live shopping potential
A special mention must be made of the so-called card breaks that customers are especially drawn to. In card breaks, people buy a box of sports cards that may contain several packs. Once people purchase the card break pack, the sellers will open them and allow others to see which cards people have bought.
This is all part of the the thrill of live shopping:
In China, the live online shopping market is worth $170 billion. In contrast, the U.S. live shopping market is only worth $1 billion. This gives a fair indication of the incredible potential growth that awaits Whatnot and other similar companies moving towards the live shopping market.
With the proceeds of the Series B round, Whatnot plans to invest in their sports memorabilia category, including jerseys, autographs, game tickets, and helmets.