Los Angeles startup GOAT (incorporated as 1661 Inc.) has raised $5 million in new venture funding to grow its mobile-only marketplace for used and collectible sneakers.
Instead of operating like an open marketplace such as E-bay, letgo or Craigslist, GOAT is a managed marketplace. And it’s mobile-only, not a website adapting to mobile trends.
For starters, GOAT verifies the authenticity and condition of every pair of shoes a seller wants to list via its app. The review of the sneakers includes an initial, online assessment of photos of every pair, using a mix of human reviewers, computer vision and machine learning.
If the company’s online review finds that the sneakers are likely authentic, with higher than 90% certainty, GOAT prompts the seller to send their kicks to the GOAT warehouse in Culver City, where the shoes are further inspected by hand, and cleaned up (if necessary) then priced, packaged and sent to the final buyer.
With about 20 full-time employees today, CEO Eddy Lu said GOAT intends to use some of its new capital to further automate its reviews process, and otherwise bolster operations with new hires, software and potentially even robotics in its warehouses.
The company will also use the funding to continue raising the brand profile for its GOAT app among the burgeoning sneakerhead community.