Independent retailers rarely have enough time to source products for their stores in addition to managing their day-to-day responsibilities. Instead, discovery happens when distributors visit the store with products in-hand or when someone from the retailer’s side is able to attend tradeshows. Emerging brands are seeking retail shelf space but don’t have the huge sales staff necessary to visit retailers one by one. Abound is an online wholesale marketplace that connects retailers to brands Retailers are given a relationship-building platform that lets them access a curated selection of products from vetted brands spanning various product categories like Accessories, Baby & Kids, Beauty, Food & Drink, Home, and Jewelry while getting flexible payment and return terms; the brands are able to secure retail placements through the platform; at scale. Founded in 2017, the platform now features over 400,000 products available to 40,000 active retailers in the US and the UK.
AlleyWatch caught up with Abound Cofounder and CEO Bill Shope to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s future plans, latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $59.6M, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised a $36.7M Series B. D. E. Shaw was the lead investor. Other participating investors included PointState Capital, Left Lane Capital, RiverPark Ventures, and All Iron Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that Abound offers.
We offer a curated wholesale marketplace that allows independent retailers to source products from the top emerging brands across the US and the UK.
What inspired the start of Abound?
We believed the legacy wholesale model, particularly trade shows, was inefficient and didn’t serve the needs of small businesses.
We offer expert curation, so retailers can be confident they are purchasing great products, and we remove the complexity of wholesale commerce.
What market does Abound target and how big is it?
We target the indy wholesale market (small and medium-sized retailers and brands) and we believe the US market is over $500B.
What’s your business model?
We earn commission on sales.
What are your post-COVID office plans?
We are remote-first, with office hubs in New York and LA.
What was the funding process like?
There is substantial interest in this category given the low online penetration in the market, so we met with a large number of potential investors. Although the pandemic lockdowns have eased since our Series A process, we continued to conduct the vast majority of our pitches on Zoom.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Mostly time management challenges. We had over 120 investor meetings, so it can be difficult to fundraise and manage the business at the same time. Nevertheless, we were able to do it!
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The market size and the fantastic team we have built since our last fundraising round.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to significantly expand the size of our engineering team, build a suite of innovative management tools for our brands, and further develop our live selling and data analytics capabilities.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Keep pushing and meet as many potential investors as you can.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our primary goal is to expand our team with the best talent we can find.
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