Thredup, now a public company, is looking to build a resale technology solution for brands alongside its customer markets.
Thredup raised $ 168 million with a market value of $ 1.3 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) on Friday. Its stock jumped from $ 14 to $ 20. With 1.24 million active buyers, 428,000 active sellers, and $ 186 million in revenue in 2020, it’s not profitable yet. But Thredup, which keeps inventory from sellers, is betting that its white label technology could help not only the brand but its own profitability.
Competition in resale has surged in the past year, with increasing industry attention to the second-hand market, due to its relevance among younger customers, substantial growth and sustainability metrics. Thredup is the second resale company to go public this year, afterwards IPO January Poshmark and RealReal in 2019. Paris-based Vestiaire Collective created a A $ 216 million deal with Tiger Global Management and luxury conglomerate Kering, which takes a 5 percent stake. The resale market is expected to reach $ 36 billion by 2024, representing a compound annual growth rate of 39 percent since 2019, making it the fastest growing sector in retail, according to a January 2020 survey from GlobalData.
But while luxury brands may want more revenue from and control their brands in the secondary market, they are less willing and unable to spend 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars investing in the robust infrastructure and technology needed to support them, says Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData’s retail division. As such, they are increasingly considering partnering with technology platforms, flooded with VC cash and scale-dependent, for branded “white label” resale technology from a customer-facing perspective.
“Brands want to play on the resale, but it is difficult to allow resale on a large scale and get the unit economy to work at a lower price point,” said Ainslee Withey, managing director at Barclays Investment Bank, which is an underwriter for Thredup’s IPO. Among the technological challenges are the ability to predict the ideal resale price, the ability to automate unique and unpredictable inventory orientation, and the ability to make personalized recommendations from a multitude of unique items. Because of this, he said, “There are clear partnership opportunities with resale technology platforms. And once they reach a certain scale, they can grow exponentially. “