Whatnot Raises $50 Million in Funding as Sports Cards Sales Continue to Boom
Kris Connor/Getty Images. Pictured: Sports trading cards
The leaders of the best tech platforms that received a boost from the COVID sports memorabilia rush are emerging and another winner that has risen to the top announced a boffo round of funding on Tuesday.
Live streaming platform Whatnot announced it raised $50 million in Series B financing from the tech world (Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz) to the entertainment world (Ryan Tedder and DJ Skee) to the sports world (DeAndre Hopkins and Bobby Wagner). Total money is raised is now $75 million. The current valuation of the company has not been disclosed.
Whatnot’s power lies in the social aspect of buying and selling.
“With a place like eBay, you know what you want, you search and you go and try to find it,” said Whatnot co-founder and CEO Grant Lafontaine. “What we’ve built is social commerce in its infancy that allows a mall like shopping experience, that allows for storytelling and, in turn, more purchases.”
Lafontaine started the app in 2019 with FunkoPops, something that he had sold on eBay and said he sold more in the two and half hours ($5,000 worth) than he sold in his entire history. “And I’m not particularly a great seller,” Lafontaine said.
Things evolved from Funkos to Pokemon cards. But it was sports cards that made it a star, a category that is up 80 times in sales versus when it launched five months ago, thanks greatly in part due to becoming an easy-to-use platform for card breaking, where hobbyists can easily sell spots in boxes and packs to consumers.