Goldman Sachs Bets Big On Online Thrift Store

Secondhand apparel marketplace thredUP secured $81 million in Series E funding, led by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (GSIP), to continue growth initiatives and scale its operations and distribution network.

"We founded thredUP to make it incredibly convenient for consumers to clean out their closets and shop for quality secondhand clothes. We saw a huge opportunity to leverage Internet penetration and the growing acceptance of buying and selling online to bring a delightful, frictionless secondhand experience to the masses,” James Reinhart, CEO and co-founder of thredUP, said in a company release today (Sept. 10).

According to Reinhart, consumer demand and adoption for the shift to thrift in e-retail is growing and thredUp is looking to capitalize by growing its reach in the market.

The company reported more than 1.8 million people visited its online marketplace last month, up from just 700,000 in August 2015. thredUp projects that by the end of 2016 it will process more than 2 million pieces of clothing every month.

"We’re excited to partner with thredUP, a team revolutionizing the way we think about the secondhand clothing category. Our industry research revealed a huge opportunity to change consumer behavior around both shopping and selling secondhand apparel,” explained Ian Friedman, co-head of GSIP Private Investments, who will join thredUP’s Board of Directors.

The trend of customers moving toward online consignment stores shows a reversal of the long-held negative perception many brand-oriented consumers had toward thrift stores, Friedman noted. He pointed to a high potential for thredUp’s market expansion due to the fact that more than half of the company’s customers had not purchased secondhand clothing within the year prior to shopping with thredUp.

Over the last year, consignment sites have had a quietly impressive run. In April, luxury consignment site The RealReal picked up $40 million in funding, while Dubai’s The Luxury Closet snapped up $2.2 million in Series A funding. Tradesy secured $30 million to kick off the year in January – almost exactly one year after Twice raised $18.5 million.

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