Part of our mission at Ada is to broaden access to and understanding of venture capital which is why we write these posts to share what the company does, why we invested and how the investment came about.
What was the process that led to investment?
Matt was introduced to FINDS by the brilliant Janneke Niessen, co-founder of Capital T and co-investor of Ada Ventures. He had an initial call with the team and was blown away by their ambition as well as their unique approach to tackling this important problem.
Why does FINDS fit the Ada thesis and what got us excited?
Matt and I have spent time with a number of different companies tackling the sustainable fashion problem in different ways and not yet made an investment. FINDS stood out for several reasons. Firstly, FINDS is focused on people buying and selling, rather than lending, clothes. This means that the delivery, cleaning and logistics is handled by the customer, rather than FINDS, increasing margins and lowering risk. Secondly FINDS have a video and mobile first approach which is squarely focused on Gen Z, who are driving the massive increase in resale over the next 5–10 years. Finally, we have been looking for platforms that are layering social on to commerce, which is what FINDS are doing. Being able to connect with other sellers and comment on and share items is behaviour that is visible everywhere on TikTok, Instagram and Depop and we believe will be central to the customer experience of the most successful companies in this space.
There were several other factors that convinced us that now was the right time to invest in FINDS:
- An overlooked but rapidly growing market. Resale is a fast growing and yet underserved market, given its size. The resale market is projected to grow to $77 bn over the next 5 years. There are several established companies that help people buy and sell online, but none with a mobile and video first approach, and none specifically targeting Gen Z.
- A company building community first. FINDS have built a powerful community of Gen Z sellers. The passion of their community is a clear indication that they are fulfilling an unmet need. We believe that early community and customer love is a key value driver, particularly in companies targeting Gen Z.
- A highly impactful business. It seems apt in the week after COP26 finishing that we share news of an investment in a platform that (at scale) will make a meaningful difference to reducing the massive negative environmental impact from fast fashion. Buying an item second hand vs a new one reduces the carbon emissions by 82%. We seek out companies that have the chance to have a significant impact on a major issue facing our society and we are fully aligned with the team on the type and scale of impact they are aiming to drive.
- Founder market fit. Carl and Jemma have been working on this problem in different ways for many years. Jemma was an early employee at ASOS and worked at resale decacorn Mercari. Carl is passionate about sustainability and founded a previous company to tackle this problem, before joining forces with Jemma.
We were pleased to be joined in the round by a fantastic set of angels including Ines Ures former CMO of Deliveroo and CCO of Treatwell, Roger Egan, Co-founder & CEO of Redmart, Jose De Cabo Founder and CEO of Olapic, and Sarah McBride, Head of Brand Marketing at Zenly.
The FINDS app is available on iOS in private beta and has launched to 5,000 users through invite only. 300 of those users are unique power sellers in the fashion resale industry; creating a new and exciting community of social shoppers.
We are working closely with the team to scale users, improve the product and hire more exceptional people (on which note — if you want to join the journey of FINDS — you can see open positions here).