Sometimes we tech industry insiders and the requisite hangers-on get so transfixed by gazing at our own navals that we forget how the rest of the world goes about their lives.
We cycle through hot startups and trends fast enough to forget others don’t always move this quickly. It’s a difficult reality Tony Hsieh has grappled with in the slow physical build-out of his Downtown Vegas project. It’s why, just when we think Facebook has run out of people, another ten million join the service. And why more than 600 million people still have Hotmail or Yahoo email addresses.
And yet, whenever we (techies, hangers-on) meet some sort of outdated technology, we’re shocked, borderline offended. You want to send me a FAX?! Did you type it on your Remington? May as well have a carrier pigeon deliver it on his penny farthing bike!
There are those of us who react that way. And then there are those of us who see it as an opportunity. One company in the latter category is Joor.
The company has built an online marketplace for fashion wholesalers and buyers. It’s not the craziest technological innovation we’ve ever seen, but then again neither is Warby Parker, or Dollar Shave Club, or Birchbox. Like them, Joor is disrupting an industry that is very much in need of a better solution.
“It’s very simple to you and me but unheardof in the wholesale world,” says CEO and founder Mona Bijoor. Designers still use the pink-yellow-white carbon copy papers to take orders in person. If it’s online, it’s through clunky digital lookbooks, emails and excel spreadsheets. But now, Joor’s app and online marketplace is slowing becoming the industry standard for doing deals, Joor says.
B2B marketplaces may be entering the Golden Age we expected to take place in the early 2000s. Bringing the country’s trillions of dollars worth of sales between businesses online held great promise, but it hasn’t quite taken off the way analysts expected in the late 90s. Fax machines still feature prominently in the daily lives of plenty of businesses for a couple of reasons: They weren’t ready, and the technology wasn’t ready.
But that’s starting to change with the move to cloud-based computing for everything, on top smartphone and iPad adoption by businesses. A wave of ecommerce companies serving a variety of industries is stepping up to tackle the new opportunities. Joor is on track to do at least $40 million worth of transactions on its platform this year. Customers include Rachel Zoe, Diane von Furstenberg, and Rachel Roy on the designer side, and Zappos, Piper Lime, and Nordstrom on the retailer side.
Joor has closed a new round of funding worth $3.25 million from its prior investors, Battery Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Landis Capital, and Forerunner Ventures. That’s an extension of the company’s $2.25 million Series A, raised in 2011. Joor will use the capital to build an app that serves designers.
Currently Joor’s offerings are more beneficial to buyers, 10,000 of which actively use the platform. There are more than 400 designers listing items on the marketplace. They are the ones that pay to use Joor, and they require a sophisticated enterprise software solution, Bijoor says. Designers and apparel brand holding companies already love the platform for the incremental sales they get from the marketplace, but they also want workflow solutions.
The cash will also go toward globalizing. Currently 85 percent of Joor’s buyers are in the US and Canada, but the company has plans for a quick international expansion as well.
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]