Indigo Fair, a platform that connects independent retailers with makers and manufacturers, has raised $12 million in a series A round of funding led by Khosla Ventures and Forerunner Ventures, with participation from Sequoia.
Founded out of San Francisco in 2017, Indigo Fair targets smaller local retailers with a marketplace where they can procure anything from jewelry and stationery to kitchen accessories, appliances, and condiments. Unlike other ecommerce marketplaces, Indigo Fair doesn’t target individual consumers, as most items can only be procured in minimum set quantities, such as a case of 12. It’s basically an online wholesaler focusing on unique goods that you may not find on the shelves of your local department store.
Retailers can “try before they buy,” as they’re not charged for any products until two months after they’ve shipped.
Online marketplaces that seek to connect supply with demand are key components of the digital economy, with well-established companies such as Uber, eBay, Amazon, and Airbnb building billion-dollar businesses by joining the dots between sellers and buyers. The concept is simple and has filtered down into all manner of industries, including logistics, local buy-and-sell platforms, online auction houses, recruitment, and more.
Some smaller ecommerce marketplaces, such as Trouva, help brick-and-mortar boutiques get online with their own inventory. But Indigo Fair is targeting things from a slightly different perspective: It wants to give retailers access to broader and more interesting inventory.
Additionally, Indigo Fair said that it uses machine learning technology to make product recommendations when a retailer first signs up for an Indigo Fair account by analyzing their “brand aesthetic.”
Indigo Fair had already raised around $4 million from Y Combinator, SV Angel, Khosla Ventures, Sequoia, and Forerunner Ventures, and with another $12 million in the bank the company said it plans to “continue evolving” Indigo Fair’s technology, with a particular focus on AI and machine learning.
Indigo Fair was actually set up by a triumvirate of former Square employees: Daniele Perito, Marcelo Cortes, and Max Rhodes. Alongside today’s funding announcement, the company has revealed that it’s integrating with Square, in addition to Shopify, to roll out “advanced capabilities” that will make continuous product recommendations based on a retailer’s in-store sales. To activate these integrations, retailers need to synchronize their point-of-sale product (e.g. Square Reader) with Indigo Fair, which will then monitor sales performances and recommend similar products. So if those black coffee mugs are selling like hot cakes, well, you might get a recommendation to carry the cream ones, too.
Indigo Fair said that it now serves more than 17,000 retailers across the U.S., with more than 500 makers listing their inventory.