Retail and Direct To Consumer

Kream Raises $168M As Secondhand Retail Sees Its Best Funding Year Yet

Illustration of IP shopping. [Dom Guzman]

The secondhand retail market is getting bigger.

Kream, a secondhand clothing marketplace, announced on Thursday it raised $168 million in Series C funding, according to TechCrunch. The fresh funding put its valuation at $742 million and was led by Altos Ventures, a longtime investor in the company. SoftBank Ventures Asia, Samsung Securities, Naver and Mirae Asset Capital participated in the round. 

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The company allows users to buy and sell secondhand luxury goods such as vintage clothing and designer bags. 

While the biggest tech companies have reported disappointing quarterly earnings, Kream has been doing pretty well. The company doubled its monthly active users between last October and March.

The circular economy revolution

Secondhand retail platforms have seen some action since the pandemic. While most industries saw a funding drop between 2021 and 2022, 2022 was the secondhand retail startup sector’s best year ever, garnering over $2 billion in venture funding according to Crunchbase data.

Online shopping became widely adopted as people were stuck indoors. Poshmark (acquired by Naver in January), started in 2011 and quickly became one of the most popular apps for reselling clothing, going public in 2021. Rent the Runway, a popular fashion rental marketplace, also went public in 2021. Tradesy, a peer-to-peer luxury resale platform similar to Kream, was acquired by Paris-based Vestiaire Collective in 2022. 

Kream and companies like it are part of a budding genre in fashion invested in the “circular economy,” the idea that fashion should revolve around repairs, resale and rentals. According to the United Nations, fast-fashion is responsible for around 8% to 10% of global emissions — more than aviation and shipping combined.

The secondhand reselling industry is growing too. Many platforms are adopting AI and automation tools to make the process of selling clothing as frictionless as possible. Software programs aimed at suggesting price points and descriptions, as well as tools that authenticate designer goods, have also come onto the scene. 

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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