Goat closed on a Series F funding round on Thursday of $195 million, increasing its valuation to $3.7 billion and doubling its previous valuation of $1.8 billion in September 2020, only nine months ago.
Park West Asset Management led this round that included participation from T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., Franklin Templeton, Adage Capital Management and Ulysses Management, and the funds will go toward growing the company’s sneaker and apparel businesses, as well as beefing up its technology — including augmented reality and machine learning for authentication, and expanding its global footprint with four new facilities this year in China, Japan, Singapore and another facility in Chicago.
Earlier this year, Goat secured a strategic investment from Groupe Artémis, the Paris holding company founded by François-Henri Pinault. The size of the investment was not disclosed.
The Series F follows a year of positive business for Goat. Sen Sugano, Goat’s chief brand officer, said the company achieved $2 billion in gross merchandise value in the last 12 months, a year-over-year gross merchandise value increase in sneakers of more than 100 percent and a year-over-year gross merchandise value increase in apparel of 500 percent. Goat has 30 million members and 600,000 sellers in 170 countries.
“We are very much the future of commerce and we’re leading the way,” Sugano boasted. He explained that Goat’s consumer may have shopped the app and website for sneakers but the company has always focused on the full outfit and today’s consumer doesn’t exclusively shop the latest season.
“The next gen consumer is not completing their look with everything from the latest season,” he said. “They’re mixing primary and resale, and high and low and we’re converging and helping users find the products they desire. Personally I’ve never been more excited about our future. We’re in the very early innings. We’re not just sneaker resale anymore.”
Goat stocks 350 selected brands, including Balenciaga, Raf Simons and Dries Van Noten, and will be adding more this year.
“We’re not necessarily looking to just add as many brands as we can,” Sugano explained. “We offer a curated experience or else we risk becoming like any other marketplace with a lack of point of view.”
Still, the sneakers segment remains Goat’s core category and still shows tremendous growth despite its maturity. The tech investments Sugano said will enhance the app and online experience while the augmented reality feature will help users to try on sneakers before they buy. The machine learning will support their authenticators.
“Our tech is really supporting our human authenticators,” he said. And with global growth comes the greater risk for counterfeits, which Sugano is aware of. “We’re always going to be investing in the tech,” he said.
Sugano continued, “It’s a service that is extremely accurate and supports the authentication verification,” he said about the machine learning. “On top of that, we continue to invest in our authenticators, our training program and our materials. We’re largely the leaders in this space. We started Goat for this very reason. Our cofounder inadvertently purchased a counterfeit pair of ‘Grape’ Air Jordan V sneakers and thought how come no one has done this before? We are a technology company, an innovative brand powered by technology. It’s infused in everything that we do.”
Sugano also expressed wanting to create a local experience for international buyers and sellers. The expanded international footprint will allow Goat to connect buyers and sellers all over the world.
“What’s powerful about the platform is that we’re about connecting supply and demand globally,” he said. “When we talk about the facilities, we’re connecting supply in Singapore with buyers in Canada or the U.K. As we expand it further, it’s easier to provide a local experience.”