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Whatnot Livestream shopping: New competitor to China’s billion dollar industry

Whatnot is a community marketplace where an individual can buy, sell, go live and geek out with collectors

Livestream shopping in the United States has a long way to go to catch up with China’s booming USD 600 billion industry, but Whatnot’s new USD 260 million Series D round (a fundraising stage) shows that American consumers are increasingly embracing this way of buying and selling items.

Whatnot is a community marketplace where an individual can buy, sell, go live and geek out with collectors. The new investment by the company was co-led by DST Global and returning investor CapitalG, which doubled the live shopping platform’s valuation to USD 3.7 billion from USD 1.5 billion compared to September 2021 valuation when Whatnot received USD 150 million. BOND and returning investors Andreessen Horowitz and YC Continuity joined the round as well.

Whatnot plans to use the additional funding to expand the collector-focused categories available on its in-app live and social commerce platform, including diecast cars, stamps, and action figures.

The business was started in 2019 by Grant LaFontaine and Logan Head as a community for collectors to meet and trade items like Funko Pops and rare Pokémon cards.

It was inspired by the popular “card break” idea, in which customers purchase unopened boxes of Pokémon or sports cards and viewers tune in to see the contents revealed live. Other collectibles have grown out of that, such as sneakers, trading cards, sports memorabilia, and unusual toys.

“This last year has been one of fast-paced growth largely attributed to the powerful community our platform is fostering,” CEO of Whatnot said in a written statement.

“It’s been incredible to see how our app cultivates connections between people with shared hobbies, keeping them tuned in to our entertaining live streams even if they aren’t buying and providing a hub for anyone to browse and discover new interests. Building on this momentum, we have our sights set on expanding into more categories and creating new experiences for people with all types of passions and hobbies,” it reads.

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