Indigo Fair founders

Velocity alumnus Indigo Fair raises $12 million in Series A for platform connecting makers and independent retailers

Marcelo Cortes, Max Rhodes, and Daniele Perito founded Indigo Fair as a way to connect independent retailers with makers who create unique and interesting products for wholesale. Launching from the Velocity Garage startup incubator in the summer of 2017, they have now raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Forerunner Ventures and Khosla Ventures, with participation from Sequoia.

Indigo Fair isn’t your typical e-commerce marketplace. Rather than targeting end consumers, the team is trying to make it easier for independent retailers to access unique products – without the risk of placing a huge order on a product that won’t end up selling. Retailers can “try” items for 60 days before purchasing them – eliminating the risk if the product doesn’t sell. At the end of those 60 days, the retailer will pay for what sold and return for free what didn’t.

The inspiration for Indigo Fair came from the realization that while shoppers today appreciate the convenience that comes with online shopping, many tastes are returning to the curated and personalized service provided by local boutiques. With the ability to order unique, high-quality products online, retailers can discover new products without the potential for huge sunk costs, and makers of products can reach buyers without spending any money up front. They offer curated collections on their website, like “Made in the USA”, “Eco-Friendly”, “Handmade”, “Social Good” and “Not on Amazon” to help retailers tailor their searches even further. Available from makers are fashion accessories, jewelry, art prints, home decor, artisanal beauty products and much more.

Indigo Fair website screenshot

With this new round of funding, the team at Indigo Fair is hoping to expand their technology with a focus on AI and machine learning. They’re already using some machine learning – when a retailer first signs up for an Indigo Fair account, a specialized machine learning software analyzes the retailer’s brand aesthetic to recommend products that fit with the existing look and feel of the store. The company also announced today that they are integrating with Shopify and Square, which will allow them to expand their product recommendations to take into account a retailer’s in-store sales. This will allow Indigo Fair’s software to match retailers with products based on what’s actually selling at any given time.

With 17,000 retailers across the US and more than 500 makers on their website, you could very well be buying products sourced from Indigo Fair – but instead of supporting the big box stores (which have their place and time), you’re supporting local businesses and smaller brands that might not otherwise make it into stores.