Congratulations to Poshmark on Its IPO: Presenting the Future of Shopping
Since they first announced plans to go public last year, Poshmark has been one of the most-anticipated consumer technology IPOs. Today we congratulate CEO Manish Chandra, co-founders Tracy Sun, Gautam Golwala, Chetan Pungaliya, CFO Anan Kashyap, and the entire team at Poshmark on going public (NASDAQ: POSH)! We are privileged to have partnered with you thus far and wish you continued success as you embark on your journey as a public company. We celebrate this milestone alongside our former partner Pravin Vazirani who led Menlo’s initial investment, and co-investors Mayfield, GGV, Temasek and Inventus Capital, each incredible partners and board members. We are grateful for their contributions.
As Poshmark goes public, we are the second-largest VC investor, following our friends at Mayfield. It’s been incredibly rewarding to watch Poshmark grow from an early start-up to a vibrant community powered by 70 million users.
Our relationship with Poshmark dates back to 2012, when our partner Pravin Vazirani—now a Managing Director at Owl Rock—led the Series B and joined the board. Menlo backed Poshmark throughout its journey, investing in the B-1 (December 2013), co-leading the C (February 2015), investing in the C-1 (March 2016) and the D (October 2017). I was privileged to be actively involved throughout, serving as an advisor to Manish for much of the journey. When Pravin transitioned off the Poshmark board in 2018, I handed the Menlo board seat to fashion industry veteran Jenny Ming (announced August 2019) because I believed the board would be best served by a female board member and fashion industry leader. I remained active, stepping into a formal board observer role. Serena Williams also joined the board that year.
Menlo invested in Poshmark because we were excited about their vision. Our conviction still holds: We believe that Poshmark is the future of shopping. Their social selling platform sits at the intersection of three important trends: 1) the shift to online, 2) the shift to social and 3) the shift to secondhand, or as Poshmark calls it “the new new,” a trend that emphasizes sustainability and affordability aligning with the values of Gen Z and younger generations.
My personal relationship with Manish goes back 20 years or more. Like me, Manish emigrated to the U.S. from India and later became U.S. a citizen. We are both active in the Indian community and involved with the Indian Community Center. In fact, while I served as president of the ICC, Manish’s father-in-law was the Chairman-of-the-board. Given Manish’s interest in fashion, it won’t surprise you that one of the events we put together was a fashion show!
Poshmark represents the natural evolution of Manish’s combined personal passions and business interests. After earning his Masters and MBA stateside, he founded Kaboodle, a company I advised. Kaboodle was one of the first social shopping sites, and could be likened to an early version of Pinterest. Although Kaboodle was acquired by Hearst in 2007, Manish still had a vision for the future of shopping. I think the magic in building Poshmark lies in him bringing on Tracy Sun as co-founder. Tracy is creative and enthusiastic, she really understands the community and social aspects. They share a vision for what Poshmark can be and together they are a force to be reckoned with.
Poshmark has shown us what it takes to be a marketplace leader. They have differentiated themselves by being simple, social and sustainable. They have a hyper-engaged community that loves social commerce. This is how they want to shop and sell.
In 20+ years of investing, I’ve come to learn that marketplaces tend to be a winner-take-all game. They are one of the few business models that demonstrate true network effects: supply and demand follow each other. When one company takes charge, it can cater to the majority of supply and demand, generate huge profits, and retain customers while fending off competition. It’s a phenomenon we’ve seen play out across the category—a category we know well. Menlo is one of the most-recognized marketplace investors; with investments in marketplace leaders that include Getaround, MealPal, Rover and of course Uber. It’s a model that we remain excited about, so if you are the founder of a category-defining marketplace business, we’d love to hear from you.