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Last week the big news for both SHOWROOM, HardGamma Ventures came out as Burda Digital invested an undisclosed Series A sum into the Polish fashion startup for 25 percent of the equity. Earlier this year HardGamma made a seed investment in SHOWROOM.
SHOWROOM is platform for independent designers to sell their products directly to the end customers. The designers upload photos and product descriptions directly, which definitely helps SHOWROOM keep cost of introducing new products in check. The company has a large Polish market to grow on, but it also has an English website and ships internationally.
I caught up with Jasiek Stasz and Michal Juda at the Pioneers Festival this week to talk more about fashion, social commerce and Burda Digital.
The fundraising news means of course that the SHOWROOM has resources to make the founders vision a reality, although attracting a strategic investor may limit their exit strategy.
If you (like me) have been shopping for clothing exclusively online, you would notice that the selection of brands sold in the stores like Zalando are fairly limited, and so are the designs. Of course Yoox has a massive collection, but most of the online stores leverage the better known brands, whilst SHOWROOM is a place to go for unique and one-off pieces at reasonable prices commanded by lesser-known designers.
What’s more, there are products for the interior design as well: furniture, paintings and accessories.
In addition to a unique product range which is a key differentiating factor from existing online clothing stores, SHOWROOM also plays with the idea of social commerce, enabling fashionistas to create their own sets within their favorites and share them with the community (this feature is not available yet but was tested during an earlier competition). There is also a wow-counter integrated with Facebook, which has been presented at one of the Facebook Poland opening events.
SHOWROOM stocks over 10,000 products already, and the main challenge is the recommendation engine that would help display products that are most likely to be picked by the users.
In the nearest future the startup plans to concentrate on the Polish designers and open the doors for them on the international markets.
As for Burda Digital role in this all, alas the investor prefers as little publicity as possible and I could not squeeze anything out of Stasz and Juda. So perhaps we are only told a small part the SHOWROOM strategy.
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