About Lightspeed: Lightspeed Venture Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the Enterprise, Consumer, Health, and Fintech sectors. Over the past two decades, the Lightspeed team has backed hundreds of entrepreneurs and helped build more than 500 companies globally including Affirm, Carta, Cato Networks, Epic Games, Faire, Forty Seven, FTX, Guardant Health, Mulesoft, Netskope, Nutanix, Rubrik, Sharechat, Snap, TripActions, Udaan, Ultima Genomics and more. Lightspeed and its global team currently manage $18B across the Lightspeed platform, with investment professionals and advisors in the U.S., China, Europe, India, Israel, and Southeast Asia. www.lsvp.com
Why Lightspeed is investing in Pharrell Williams’ new commerce platform for culturally-relevant luxury goods
For as long as any of us can remember, the world of luxury auctions has been dominated by two names: Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Together, these two storied houses account for nearly half of the $32 billion luxury goods resale market.
Now a new contender is set to join this elite pair: JOOPITER.
Founded by 13-time Grammy-winning performer and composer Pharrell Williams, JOOPITER is a digital auction house for the 21st century. More than simply a platform for buying and selling high-end goods, JOOPITER sits at the intersection of commerce, content, and community. And it will initially be built around collections from curators, brands, and cultural figures across film, fashion, sports, and entertainment.
JOOPITER aims to foster a much more participatory environment than the legacy auction houses with exclusive content, social features, branded merchandise, and inclusive events. The initial auction wedge will be the first of several commerce opportunities the platform intends to tackle at scale.
Today we’re excited to share that Lightspeed is leading JOOPITER’s $6 Million Seed round. And here’s why:
* A growing market ripe for disruption. The luxury resale market is growing more than 10 percent each year, and represents a fraction of the $400B+ collectibles market, which is growing at 20%+ annually. The pandemic proved to be a catalyst for consumers to become comfortable purchasing high-end goods in a digital-first format, often sight unseen. JOOPITER fills a market need yet to be addressed by the big luxury auction houses, while offering a high-profile alternative to the fragmented collectibles resale market.
This market demand was further validated through JOOPITER’s first set of auctions which closed last week, generating $5.25M in sales (well above sales high forecast of roughly $3.2M) with nearly two-thirds of items selling above their high estimate. The auction attracted widespread international activity, with a high volume of interest from China, the US, UK, and broader EU, and the team already has several other auctions lined up for the months ahead.
* A compelling founder-market fit. In addition to being a celebrated musician, Pharrell is a highly respected name in the world of fashion & luxury commerce. His deep partner network provides a unique supply advantage on the auction side of the business, while his platform and global presence will help to accelerate the demand-side go-to-market. This provides JOOPITER a clear competitive advantage in branding, scale, and trust, three elements absolutely critical for disrupting the market incumbents.
To launch the platform, Pharrell listed 47 items from his personal collection in the initial auction — everything from his high school letterman’s jacket to an 18-karat gold encased Blackberry 8700 to a Jacob & Co. N.E.R.D. Character Pendant Chain — and donated a portion of the proceeds to Black Ambition, a nonprofit that supports minority entrepreneurs across the U.S.
* A team of seasoned executives. In addition to Pharrell, JOOPITER has assembled an experienced team to manage day-to-day operations. CEO Kellen Roland comes out of Pharrell’s branding/content agency (iamOTHER) and has experience scaling consumer eCommerce brands to hundreds of millions in sales. As head of product at video shopping platform NTWRK and before that GOAT, VP Product Andrew Leitch brings strong domain expertise across livestream commerce & collectibles marketplaces. VP Planning & Finance Sanam Abbas worked with Roland at Herschel Supply Co. and was head of planning for fashion and accessories e-tailer Ted Baker London prior to that. She brings complementary skillsets across logistics, operations, and brand partnerships.
A Happy Collaboration
At Lightspeed we look for startups that appeal to fundamental elements of human nature. JOOPITER offers fans the opportunity to connect with communities of like-minded people in a completely unique way.
We rarely get the chance to disrupt an industry that’s remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. JOOPITER has a unique opportunity to build a platform that can change the way high-end collectibles are bought and sold, and to form new communities around them.
If you’re inspired by the mission and are interested in joining the amazing team at JOOPITER, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.