Currently being used by over 200,000 retailers and over 8,600 brands, JOOR is the leading wholesale platform that connects brands and retailers. Launched in 2010 by Monica Bijoor, JOOR recently closed a $16M Series C round led by ITOCHU with participation from existing investors Canaan Partners and Battery Ventures. Already in 144 countries, JOOR plans to use this funding to expand its growth specifically in the Asian market, specifically in Japan with the help of new investor ITOCHU, a Japanese keiretsu focused on manufacturing, retail, and technology.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO Kristin Savilia about JOOR’s expansion plans and recent funding round, which brings its total funding to $36.1M across four rounds.
What was the funding process like?
Fantastic (said no one ever). Funding is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes longer than you think and requires thick skin and tenacity.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We had several interested suitors early, but our biggest issue was timelines not aligning.
The number one factor was our strong product/market fit reflected in our strong engagement. With $23B in GMV transacted on the platform to date and 2.3K daily connections being made, JOOR is the dominant player in our space. Investors recognized this, which is why we had several term sheets to choose from.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Over the next six months, we plan to continue our growth and expansion into Asia. We will be releasing products that will further allow data to be unlocked between brands and retailers and continue to fuel wholesale’s digital and data transformation. Additionally, we plan to add more key global retailers to the JOOR network, thus further fueling the strong network effect that supports our mission of bringing wholesale together within one ecosystem.
Tell us about the decision to expand into Japan. What’s been the biggest challenge?
Japan is the second largest luxury market in the world, behind the United States and in front of mainland China. According to a report by McKinsey & Co., Japan spends 3.6T yen (roughly $33B) each year on luxury goods. Since JOOR’s mission is to bring the wholesale ecosystem together under one platform, we will help ITOCHU brands leave Japan and enter global markets in order to sell to the U.S. and Europe, while helping U.S./European brands sell in Japan.
The language barrier is a challenge which is why we chose ITOCHU to assist with the set-up of our Tokyo Operation. Members of ITOCHU’s team will be dedicated to JOOR’s success.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Any startup needs to carefully choose where to focus – those tight on cash even more so. The ability to recognize when to “pass” on an opportunity is just as important as recognizing the ones to pursue. Choose opportunities that drive your mission and do not get distracted by quick wins that take you off course.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our near-term focus is to be the defacto platform for wholesale’s data transformation. The industry currently has “portal fatigue” with too many places to capture, deliver, and review data. JOOR seeks to aggregate this data into our platform which is the place where the wholesale process initiates.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Union Square Cafe – it’s a nice walk from my office and never lets me down.