Live Shopping Platform Whatnot Hits $1.5B Valuation


The live shopping platform Whatnot has raised $150 million in a Series C funding round, its third round this year and the one that pushes it into unicorn status with a $1.5 billion valuation.

As TechCrunch noted on Thursday (Sept. 16), Whatnot taps into the increasingly popular live shopping trend, allowing collectors to buy and sell things like Funko Pops and Pokemon cards.

The platform began as a place devoted to standard resales, where people could go to get their Funko Pops authenticated and without as much emphasis on live shopping. But when COVID altered everyone’s lives and people began staying home, Whatnot pivoted to more live broadcasts and began seeing rapid growth.

Read more: Livestream Auction Startup Whatnot Notches $4M Seed

Most of the buyers and sellers on the site are not small businesses, but simply enthusiasts who buy and sell collectibles as a hobby or for a source of side income.

What sets Whatnot apart from other digital collector’s marketplaces is its built-in live-streaming capabilities that allow for real-time interaction and connection, the company said.

Verified sellers are allowed to go live anytime they want to host video auctions. In some cases, buyers will know precisely what’s up for grabs, while other auctions are more of a gamble. For example, there’s the “card break” system, where users purchase unassigned portions of an unopened box of trading cards and watch live as its contents are unveiled.

According to TechCrunch, the company has begun expanding its scope to include things like pins, vintage clothing, sneakers and sports cards, which Co-founder Grant LaFontaine says is the platform’s biggest driver, followed by Pokémon and Funko Pops.

The company’s latest funding round was fueled by return investors A16Z and Y Combinator’s Continuity fund, as well as a new firm, CapitalG (formerly Google Capital). Whatnot has also added some high-profile angel investors, including Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and Logan Paul of the YouTubes, per the report.