CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Swap.com, the largest pre-owned online store for women, men and children, today announced the completion of $20 million in new financing. The round was led by eEquity, a Swedish private equity company specializing in Internet retailing, and joined by three other investors. This investment brings Swap.com's total equity funding to more than $50 million, making it one of the best funded startups in the Chicago area.
Boasting an inventory of 1.5 million unique items from clothing to sporting goods and toys, Swap.com has solidified its leadership position in the retail market as the largest single provider of inexpensive pre-owned merchandise online. Just last week, the company was recognized by Internet Retailer as one of the hot 100 innovative e-tailers.
Swap.com offers the broadest selection of everyday brands and products for the whole family. While there are several peer-to-peer marketplaces for trading pre-owned goods online, Swap.com has simplified the entire process for buyers and sellers with its logistics center and proprietary technology. Sellers simply print out a pre-paid label, pack their box and send it to Swap.com. From there, the company handles everything from merchandising to marketing and posting online. Shoppers buy confidently knowing they are getting quality merchandise because each item at Swap.com is carefully inspected, evaluated and vetted prior to posting on the website.
"As an industry, we're only scratching the surface," said Dr. Juha Koponen, CEO & Co-Founder at Swap.com. "There's a staggering amount of unused, pre-owned merchandise with an estimated value of more than one hundred billion dollars annually. And while there is a large demand for secondhand items, the merchandise has not been moving mostly because there hasn't been a practical nor convenient way to purchase these items online. With more than 30% of Americans shopping thrift and consignment stores each year, we have an incredible opportunity to make an impact."
Another appeal of buying pre-owned is sustainability. In fact, 85% of discarded clothing ends up in the trash and buried in landfills every year in the United States—more than 12 million tons—with the average individual throwing away 70 pounds of textiles, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). People who buy from Swap.com can feel good about their purchases knowing they bought gently-used items instead of participating in a throw-away culture. Likewise, people who choose to sell their items on Swap.com help prevent waste while earning money from their quality pre-owned items.
This financing round will be used to continue the already impressive growth track of Swap.com by dialing up brand building, ramping up recruitment for both the Bolingbrook and Chicago offices and increasing efficiency in the fulfillment center.
"We are proud to invest in Swap.com and its outstanding management team that we believe have a unique opportunity to become a clear category leader in the United States. We strongly believe in the value proposition of Swap.com and look forward to people increasing the life span and extracting value of their pre-owned quality apparel via Swap.com with a positive impact on the environment as well," said Patrik Hedelin, Partner at eEquity.
Swap.com has been growing at an average rate of 180% year-over-year, and was listed as one of America's 5 Fastest Growing Apparel Websites, for women's clothing, in 2015 by Internet Retailer.
Since opening its doors in 2012, Swap.com has expanded from maternity and kids' clothing to adding women's in 2015 and menswear in June 2016. The company operates in Bolingbrook, Illinois at a state-of-the-art warehouse of 360,000 square feet, which is about the size of six football fields. Additionally, Swap.com opened a downtown Chicago office to accommodate the growing marketing team this year.
"Expanding our team in downtown Chicago is one of our top priorities," said Rich Lesperance, Chief Marketing Officer at Swap.com. "Besides being one of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in the Chicago area, a unique advantage of joining Swap.com is the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. While we work hard, we all have fun doing it because we know that we are creating a healthier society and helping the environment."
Carnegie Investment Banking acted as a sole financial advisor to Swap.com in the private placement.
Swap.com, recently recognized by Internet Retailer as one of the Hot 100 innovative e-tailers in the industry, is the largest online consignment shop with more than 1.5 million unique items. The company strives to redefine consignment services by making the process of buying and selling pre-owned goods more convenient, safe, and profitable. Preventing waste by saving pre-owned clothes and accessories from ending up in landfills, shoppers can feel good about the purchases they make on Swap.com. Offering clothes, accessories, toys and games for babies, children, women and men, Swap.com is a one-stop shop the whole family can enjoy. Swap.com is based in Chicago and Bolingbrook, Illinois. The service was launched in 2012.
eEquity is the leading private equity company investing growth capital in ecommerce and online companies in Nordic companies. eEquity has invested in the online sector since 2010 and is managing three funds with $135 million with currently twelve companies in the portfolio. eEquity invests in entrepreneurial led growth companies with the potential to become market leaders. Vaadin is another eEquity portfolio company with part of the management team based in San Jose, CA with USA representing the 60% of the business opportunity. Vaadin is behind the popular open source web application development tools and framework used by around 40% of the Fortune 100 companies and over 150 000 developers globally. eEquity is backed by European leading family offices and financial institutions. eEquity is managed by Patrik Hedelin and Magnus Wiberg that are experienced internet entrepreneurs themselves with experience from boo.com and Pricerunner.
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