E-commerce platform Gander introduced at present the closing of a $4.2 million seed spherical co-led by Harlem Capital and Crossbeam Venture Partners.
The seed provides Gander founder Kimiloluwa Fafowora, 26, to the rising checklist of Black girls who’ve raised $1 million or extra in VC funding — a feat not more than 250 have hit. Fafowora advised TechCrunch that the thought for Gander got here from her personal needs as a web-based shopper on the lookout for a better technique to conceptualize the gadgets she sought to purchase.
“Loads of the weather which are actually useful for bringing merchandise to life don’t actually exist on-line,” Fafowora stated.
To repair that, in late 2021, she launched Gander, which collects and embeds user-generated video content material into retail websites so consumers can see what a product seems like in actual life. Gander additionally has a creator market, which supplies manufacturers direct entry to the video content material. Fafowora hopes to extend hiring on her gross sales and engineering groups with the recent capital and concentrate on additional scaling the corporate.
“We’ve constructed our product in such a method that we get necessary knowledge that may assist e-commerce manufacturers simply humanize their shops in a method that makes them accessible as potential,” Fafowora continued. “That helps the client really feel pleased as potential for purchasing.”
A success with buyers
Fafowora enrolled at Stanford Graduate Faculty of Enterprise with an acute understanding of desirous to humanize on-line purchasing. Whereas the pandemic saved her research digital, she multitasked analysis, product experimenting and networking.
Her product gained a lot traction after its launch and has already secured some high-profile purchasers, although she declined to share names. Gander’s success is showcased by the truth that it took lower than three months to shut its $4.2 million seed. In reality, Fafowora stated fundraising wasn’t high of thoughts early within the yr. However the phrase of her firm began to unfold and shortly buyers flooded her with gives.
“Earlier than we knew it,” she recalled, “we had time period sheets.”
“Loads of the weather which are actually useful for bringing merchandise to life don’t actually exist on-line.” Kimiloluwa Fafowora, founding father of Gander
Fafowora met Harlem Capital managing companion Henri Pierre-Jacques and Crossbeam managing director Ryan Morgan via different buyers. She stated the 2 acknowledged the necessity for her product and understood the imaginative and prescient of the place she needed to take the corporate.
“Because the e-commerce panorama has grown over the previous few years, manufacturers have wanted to seek out methods to attach and talk with clients authentically,” Morgan stated in a press launch. “Not solely does Kimiloluwa have a singular understanding of the wants and appetites of the fashionable client, however she additionally has expertise scaling e-commerce manufacturers, which has led her to develop an answer to raised the communication between on-line manufacturers and shoppers.”
Pierre-Jacques added to that. “We’re huge buyers in e-commerce enablement instruments and see Gander because the evolution for user-generated content material for manufacturers,” he stated within the launch.
Further funding got here from Boon Fund and a set of enterprise scouts and angels.
That is solely the start
Gander is a full-circle second for Fafowora. She at all times needed to start out a enterprise and hails from an entrepreneurial household. The thought of crafting her personal future whereas serving to others appealed to her, however for the longest time, she couldn’t determine on the best way to obtain that dream.
The sunshine bulb lit up whereas she was working as a strategist to assist scale client manufacturers. Typically, she walked away feeling as if one thing was lacking from their on-line methods. She figured somebody ought to do one thing about that.
After graduating from Stanford this Sunday, Fafowora plans to concentrate on scaling her firm with hopes of serving to manufacturers extra simply attain consumers whereas additionally leaning into utilizing creators to work together with shoppers to assist them with shopping for selections.
“That is all a part of her dream to assist usher in a brand new period of e-commerce,” she stated, including “amassing and embedding video content material is just the start.”
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