Secondhand furniture marketplace Kaiyo announced Monday (May 17) that it has raised $5 million to fuel its expansion at a time when consumer demand for reCommerce, resale and circular economy retailing is surging.
In announcing the capital investment led by Moderne Ventures, Kaiyo’s founder told PYMNTS that he planned to expand the 2-year-old startup’s “white glove” pick-up and delivery service beyond its New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia core to Washington D.C., while also pursuing new business in the burgeoning market of first-time home buyers.
“Kaiyo picks up, cleans, photographs, and delivers all products sold on the platform, offering a more simple and streamlined process for both the buyer and seller,” Kaiyo Founder Alpay Koralturk said. “Everything is priced intelligently using our algorithm and discounted automatically over time, so [consumers] can get incredible savings on their favorite brands, while also making an environmentally-friendly choice.”
The 2 Million Pound Switch
In just over two years, the choice of Kaiyo’s customers to buy pre-owned sofas, bedroom sets, chairs and more has collectively kept over 2 million pounds of furniture out of landfills, a trend that is aligned with its mission to save people time, money while also acting to protect the environment.
“Not many people know it, but furniture is the largest waste category in America [and] on top of that, there’s virtually no way to recycle furniture in our country,” Koralturk said.
But by offering consumers a super-convenient way to buy and sell high quality, long-lasting furniture brands at a fraction of their original price, Kaiyo has been able to turn browsers into repeat customers.
“Many of our customers are looking to save money, so we provide them access to designs and brands that they may not otherwise be able to afford at full price,” he said, which encourages them to “move away from cheaper, less sustainable, single-serve furniture brands”.
Like many of its peers and rivals in the resale segment, oftentimes Kaiyo’s customers initially try the service as either a buyer or a seller but ultimately end up embracing both sides of the trade.
“We see this as well,” he said. “People form an attachment to their furniture, so when it’s time to change up their decor, they really want to see their old pieces find a good home.”
Good Homes And New Homes
According to Koralturk, Kaiyo uses both traditional marketing channels but also hosts events for first-time homebuyers aimed at simplifying a process that is already stressful and expensive.
“Kaiyo is addressing a huge pain point for consumers by taking the hassle out of buying and selling used furniture in a secure way, enabling consumers to reduce waste and save money,” Moderne partner and Kaiyo investor/customer Liza Benson said, adding that the Chicago-based venture capital firm was also opening up its B2B channels for Kaiyo in the multi-family, residential and commercial markets.
To be sure Kaiyo is not alone in its embrace of the benefits surrounding the purchase and sale of second hand goods and is expanding alongside numerous other startups that are riding the same wave.
In the past week, the secondhand uptrend could be seen in the earnings results and user growth stats from The RealReal, Poshmark and thredUP that not only reflected consumers being more comfortable with the reCommerce concept, but also that they are being retrained to think of shopping secondhand first.
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