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Ex-Amazon Exec Snags $40M To Launch Group Commerce Startup

Group buying has gotten a shot in the arm, to the tune of $40 million.

That’s the amount that community-driven commerce startup Massdrop received in Series B funding, according to an announcement yesterday (Aug. 13). The round was led by August Capital, with First Round Capital, Mayfield Fund and Cowboy Ventures also contributing.

Founded by former Amazon executive Steve El-Hage (who is also the company’s CEO), Massdrop positions itself as a “community for enthusiasts” — seeking to drive eCommerce by appealing to dedicated fans of niche products and industries. The startup cites high fidelity sound reproduction, mechanical keyboard assembly, quilting and fountain pens as being among its 11 categories of communities — a number that the company has designs on increasing.

Since last year, Massdrop’s user base has grown sevenfold, now totaling over 1 million enthusiasts. Its online forum market, meanwhile, counts more than 400 million people among its ranks worldwide.

“Our goal is to build the future of interest-based communities, and in order to do so, we need to be able to understand them at a deeply rooted level,” said El-Hage in a press release announcing the Series B round. “We will continue focusing on community above all else, and these funds will play a big role in helping us to grow and scale our platform.”

In conjunction with the round, David Hornik, general partner of August Capital, will be joining Massdrop’s board of directors.

“Many companies have found initial success in eCommerce but hit a plateau where they can no longer drive growth through paid acquisition alone,” said Hornik in the release. “By fostering and engaging the community, rather than buying one, Massdrop has pushed through this plateau and continues to grow its user base.”

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