Tennis superstar and businesswoman Serena Williams has dipped her toes into retail before, launching her own clothing line, “Serena,” in 2018. And now she’ll be helping another retailer grow.
Williams is joining the board of directors of online resale marketplace Poshmark, the company announced Wednesday. She has, meanwhile, been serving on the board of consumer survey start-up SurveyMonkey, an opportunity she jumped at about two years ago. Williams has said she’s learned more about Silicon Valley since meeting her husband Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and a handful of other start-ups.
“What triggered my initial interest [in Williams], is there are very few people who have that focus on excellence,” Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra said. “What we are trying to build is a very diverse, independent board. … People who can guide us to the next level of growth.”
“Seeing she had the right experience … the passion for fashion … that’s the way we looked at it,” Chandra added, emphasizing this partnership isn’t about “chasing endorsement” from a celebrity.
Founded in 2011, California-based Poshmark allows users to create an account and then either buy items from other users or try to sell unwanted items — apparel, handbags, shoes, jewelry and even make-up — themselves. Last May, the company said sellers on its platform had earned a total of $1 billion since Poshmark’s inception, a major milestone. It said it was targeting annual revenue of $150 million to $200 million. (It keeps 20 percent of each transaction.) Chandra declined to comment on how Poshmark ended 2018.
One of the retailer’s competitors, Mercari, went public in a $1.2 billion debut in Japan last year, sparking a greater conversation around Poshmark one day pursuing an IPO. Other retail rivals in the resale market include TheRealReal, which is reportedly in talks with banks for an IPO, as well as thredUp and Rebag.
“We continue to evaluate our options,” Chandra said, when asked about going public. “We’re focused on scaling the business,” which includes plans to take Poshmark to Canada next, to launch in new categories like home and to get users to spend more time on the app.
Poshmark has raised $153 million to date. Its last round, a Series D, in November 2017 was for $87.5 million and valued the company at nearly $600 million. Major investors in Poshmark include GGV Capital, Menlo Ventures and Union Grove Venture Partners.