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After emerging as one of Los Angeles’ best funded and Talk about startups last year, online marketplace for sneakers and apparel GOAT is now targeting overseas.
Speaking at the Upfront Summit venture capital conference on Wednesday, GOAT Group COO Yunah Lee said international expansion is now the priority for the Culver City-based startup. GOAT opened offices in mainland China last year — its workforce there has already quadrupled, she noted — and also recently cut the ribbon from offices in Singapore and Japan.
Having sold $2 billion worth of merchandise on his platform in 2020 and doubled its valuation At $3.7 billion last year, GOAT now has 1,500 employees and 16 offices around the world.
“We want to continue to focus on our international expansion in Western Europe, Southeast Asia and East Asia, and also continue to focus on our luxury fashion, apparel and accessories categories,” said Lee.
The COO mentioned that part of GOAT’s motivation for international expansion is to serve a diverse global customer base that has different tastes depending on where they are from. In Europe, she noted, many shoppers don’t wear high-tops, while in the United States it’s virtually impossible to call yourself a sneakerhead without a classic pair of Air Jordan 1s. The Middle East, she added, is developing an insatiable appetite for Kanye West’s Yeezy shoe line.
Having a diverse customer base “allows us to create this global network of buyers and sellers to bring the products that these people don’t have easy access to,” Lee said. Geographic diversity is also key to wooing luxury brands like Versace, Alexander McQueen and Polo Ralph Lauren, which are increasingly looking to outlets like GOAT as valuable resale markets and have wooed it for commodity partnerships.
Launched in 2015 as a means of co-founder and CEO Eddy Lu and his college friends to authenticate real Air Jordans apart from fakes, GOAT is now one of the hottest startups in Los Angeles, according to a recent dot.LA survey of venture capitalists. The company landed a $195 million funding round led by Park West Asset Management last June and has raised some $493 million to date, according to PitchBook data.
According to a recent study by Cowenthe sneaker and streetwear resale market is growing at 20% per year and is expected to surpass $30 billion in global sales by 2030.
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