E-commerce platform Gander introduced as we speak the closing of a $4.2 million seed spherical co-led by Harlem Capital and Crossbeam Enterprise Companions.
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 informed TechCrunch that the thought for Gander got here from her personal needs as a web-based shopper in search of a better option to conceptualize the objects she sought to purchase.
“A whole lot of the weather which might be actually useful for bringing merchandise to life do not actually exist on-line,” Fafowora mentioned.
To repair that, in late 2021, she launched Gander, which collects and embeds user-generated video content material into retail websites so customers can see what a product seems to be like in actual life. Gander additionally has a creator market, which provides 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 deal with additional scaling the corporate.
“We have constructed our product in such a means that we get vital knowledge that may assist e-commerce manufacturers simply humanize their shops in a means that makes them accessible as attainable,” Fafowora continued. “That helps the client really feel joyful as attainable 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 stored 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. Actually, Fafowora mentioned fundraising wasn’t high of thoughts early within the 12 months. However the phrase of her firm began to unfold and shortly buyers flooded her with affords.
“Earlier than we knew it,” she recalled, “we had time period sheets.”
“A whole lot of the weather which might be actually useful for bringing merchandise to life do not actually exist on-line.” Kimiloluwa Fafowora, founding father of Gander
Fafowora met Harlem Capital managing accomplice Henri Pierre-Jacques and Crossbeam managing director Ryan Morgan by different buyers. She mentioned the 2 acknowledged the necessity for her product and understood the imaginative and prescient of the place she wished to take the corporate.
“Because the e-commerce panorama has grown over the previous few years, manufacturers have wanted to search out methods to attach and talk with prospects authentically,” Morgan mentioned in a press launch. “Not solely does Kimiloluwa have a novel understanding of the wants and appetites of the trendy client, however she additionally has expertise scaling e-commerce manufacturers, which has led her to develop an answer to higher the communication between on-line manufacturers and shoppers.”
Pierre-Jacques added to that. “We’re massive buyers in e-commerce enablement instruments and see Gander because the evolution for user-generated content material for manufacturers,” he mentioned 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 all the time wished 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 could not resolve on learn how 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 deal with scaling her firm with hopes of serving to manufacturers extra simply attain customers 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 mentioned, including “amassing and embedding video content material is only the start.”