CALA is a New York-based marketplace that provides a total retail infrastructure for influencers and existing fashion brands to design and launch their own fashion brands. Think of it as taking your idea from a napkin sketch to the product being delivered to a warehouse.
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The company raised a $3 million seed round extension co-led by Maersk Growth and Real Ventures. CALA’s CEO Andrew Wyatt told Crunchbase News that the company brought in its first seed in 2018, which was led by Real Ventures. He said those two rounds give the 4-year-old company a total fundraise of just over $7 million.
“We will use the new funding to continue to build out the team on the engineering and product side,” Wyatt said. “We are also in the process of developing a more robust brand and website so our users can understand the workflows.”
What you should know
Historically, creating a fashion brand is something you could do only if you had enough capital or knew someone in clothing manufacturing, Wyatt said. Today, influencers are growing multimillion-person audiences and are now driving our tastes and trends. Some existing brands rely on these influencers to help them advertise their products and services.
McKinsey & Co. reported in April that if stores remained closed for two months, it anticipates “80 percent of publicly listed fashion companies in Europe and North America will be in financial distress.”
“We see the next wave of commerce coming from those who have been nurturing their own audiences and want to create a brand they care about,” he said. “With one login, we help them run their own business.”
CALA signed more than 20 new partnerships in the past three months and is now receiving inbound inquiries from small agencies and management companies that manage less than 10 creators, Wyatt said.
What the investor is saying
Sune Stilling, head of growth at Maersk, said in a written statement that CALA’s technology enables the next generation of influencers to bring their fashion brands to reality.
“Fashion is an important industry for us and CALA’s solution helps create access for a new breed of fashion brands by offering an entire fashion lifecycle from initial ideation to production and fulfillment that can be set up and scaled in just a few months,” he added.
Next steps for CALA
Over the next six months, CALA will build a network of contractors in which it can continuously send out projects, enabling them to work on both small and large brands—wherever they have the best fit, Wyatt said. It is also examining other industries, such as the music industry, to help contractors receive royalties for their designs.
Other e-commerce tools are doing well
We’ve recently reported on several other startups helping companies and people create their own e-commerce sites. Last week, Los Angeles-based Scalefast announced it had raised a $22 million Series B round of funding Tuesday to help brands launch an e-store in as little as 15 days.
In May, San Diego-based Ecwid, a software-as-a-service e-commerce company that provides online selling solutions for small businesses and enables them to establish a digital storefront in a matter of hours, said it raised a $42 million round of funding.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias