While established retailers experiment with in-store tech enhancements like point-of-sale financing and mobile beacons to bridge the gap between e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar, pure-play e-commerce startups are becoming more specialized as they seek to differentiate themselves.
With deals and funding to physical goods e-commerce startups down dramatically this year, it’s clear investors are being far more selective in placing bets on the category.
Using Mosaic, our predictive algorithm that tracks private company health, we identified 13 early stage e-commerce startups to watch. We noted several themes among them, including:
- Targeting niche apparel/personal care categories
- Use of unique, natural materials
- Budget-conscious shopping or discounting
The companies on our list all leverage one or more of these themes. They’re are all early-stage startups (Seed/Angel or Series A) and have raised funding rounds since 1/1/2015. Scroll down to see the full list, and let us know if you have any suggestions.
Hollar is a discount shopping site and app offering toys, clothing, home goods, party supplies, and more, with items generally under $10.
Select Investors: Forerunner Ventures, BAM Ventures, Index Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital
Total Disclosed Funding: $17.6M
ThirdLove aims to offer a more comfortable bra by providing a wider range of sizes than standard bras. ThirdLove’s smartphone app uses image recognition technology to offer personalized sizing in users’ homes.
Select Investors: NEA, Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures
Total Disclosed Funding: $13.6M
FabFitFun is a lifestyle platform combining an online social community, lifestyle content, and subscription-based commerce. With a membership, FabFitFun users receive seasonal gift boxes of fashion, beauty, food, and fitness items.
Select Investors: NEA, Simon Venture Group, 500 Startups, Rachel Zoe
Total Disclosed Funding: $3.5
Scentbird is a subscription perfume service starting at $15 per month. Members can receive a 30-day supply of a different perfume each month, giving them the chance to sample new scents.
Select Investors: 500 Startups, Scrum Ventures, Ludlow Ventures
Total Disclosed Funding: $4M
Wanelo is a social shopping platform that claims to host over 500K digital storefronts and 30M products. Users can search and curate items, post their own products, and follow other users.
Select Investors: Floodgate, First Round Capital, Forerunner Ventures
Total Disclosed Funding: $9.5M
Allbirds produces men’s and women’s sneakers made from Merino wool. The company claims its wool minimizes odor, wicks moisture, and moderates foot temperature.
Select Investors: Slow Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Peterson Ventures
Total Disclosed Funding: $2.2M
7. Lost My Name
Lost My Name designs personalized children’s picture books based on a child’s name. Its main book, “The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name” was the top-grossing picture book in the US and UK in 2015.
Select Investors: Google Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Allen & Company
Total Disclosed Funding: $13.5M
MeUndies is a clothing brand offering comfortable men’s and women’s underwear online. MeUndies also offers a subscription plan.
Select Investors: Winklevoss Capital, Revolution, Walden International
Total Disclosed Funding: $7.1M
Educents is an online marketplace for educational material, connecting sellers and buyers across the publishing, teaching, home-schooling, and small business sectors.
Select Investors: Kapor Capital, Learn Capital, Crosslink Capital
Total Disclosed Funding: $2.9M
10. Ministry of Supply
Ministry of Supply is a clothing brand focused on performance-oriented men’s clothing.
Select Investors: VTF Capital, SK Ventures
Total Disclosed Funding: $7.2M
Rebagg buys luxury pre-owned handbags and resells them online. Sellers can submit pictures of their bags by phone to receive pricing quotes, and, if accepted, can ship the bags to Rebagg for free. Rebagg pays sellers for the items upfront, and then resells the bags on Trendlee.com.
Select Investors: General Catalyst Partners, Crosslink Capital, Founder Collective
Total Disclosed Funding: $12M
Lola offers a subscription service for tampons made of 100% cotton.
Select Investors: BoxGroup, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Vayner RSE
Total Disclosed Funding: $4.2M
13. Vow To Be Chic
Vow To Be Chic is an online rental platform for designer bridesmaid dresses. Brides can browse the company’s online dress selection and consult with stylists to pick dresses for each of their bridesmaids, and bridesmaids can rent the dresses starting at $50.
Select Investors: Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Wavemaker Partners, Women’s Venture Capital Fund
Total Disclosed Funding: $5M
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