Ghost, providing a B2B marketplace for surplus inventory, is back with fresh funds in the way of a $30 million Series B round.
It’s been one year since Josh Kaplan and Dee Murthy launched Ghost’s members-only marketplace, with $20 million in Series A capital, to help brands and retailers discreetly buy, sell and ship their extra merchandise. It’s powered by a data engine that enables better discovery and increased conversion for items like fashion, beauty, footwear and home goods.
During that time, the company doubled its team and grew its membership base to over 1,000 members. Uploaded inventory to the marketplace increased by 500% while its year over year gross merchandise value run rate grew over 10 times.
It also developed a new Chrome extension so that buyers, while searching consumer websites, can easily evaluate if that product is available on Ghost, and if not, directly make that request to the company, Kaplan told TechCrunch.
“We’ve spent a ton of time educating brands and retailers that data and technology can make their process and their lives easier,” Murthy said in an interview. “The macro trends in the economy have been a tailwind for us and there’s an openness for trying something new as the traditional things have not been working for a lot of them. It felt like this business has been timed really well for what’s happening in the world of retail.”
Meanwhile, Cathay Innovation led the Series B round, which closed in July, and was joined by existing investors Union Square Ventures, Equal Ventures and Eniac Ventures. The new investment gives Ghost $68 million in total venture capital to date and an increased valuation, though the co-CEOs declined to get specific on the amount. As part of the investment, Cathay’s partner Simon Wu is joining Ghost’s board of directors.
Kaplan and Murthy plan to use the funds to hire for several roles in product, engineering and design and expand more into the U.S., as well as getting into Europe and Asia. They also want to further develop their product, especially in automation and personalization.
“Most of our product teams have a background in personalization and in leveraging artificial intelligence to create personalized experiences for every user, so that is going to be our approach,” Kaplan said. “AI will be used to create curated dashboards for every buyer and optimize the best composition for gross margin on sales.”