By Jane Lanhee Lee
(Reuters) – Online wholesale marketplace Faire said on Thursday it raised $260 million in its latest funding round and is now valued at $7 billion, thanks to the fast growth in e-commerce following the pandemic.
Faire helps small retailers connect with small brands, helping them to compete with retail giants like Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) or Walmart (NYSE:) Inc, said Faire Chief Executive and co-founder Max Rhodes. He started the company as he experienced the challenges of finding sales channels for an upscale New Zealand umbrella brand he was trying to sell in the United States.
“We were flying all over the country, going to trade shows. We were emailing back and forth with retailers. Email was kind of the height of the technological innovation for us in that business,” said Rhodes.
There are an increasing number of tech companies that are helping small and medium-sized businesses grow online, offering shipping, payment, e-commerce platforms and marketing services, and making it possible to sell outside of the Amazon marketplace.
One of Faire’s most popular filters to add in merchandise searches is the “not on Amazon,” said Rhodes. He said the average retailer or brand on Faire’s platform has about $250,000 in annual sales, but some are also growing big, fast.
Following its success in the U.S. market, Faire expanded into Europe three months ago and is seeing fast growth there, said Rhodes.
The funding round was led by Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms.
“We’re still in the single-digit online penetration for the wholesale market,” said Sequoia partner Ravi Gupta. “We’re in the very early innings of what we think is a multi-decade-long trend towards digitization on some of these things.”
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