January 4, 2022
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Rewriting the rules of retail: our investment in Purple Dot

Rachel Star
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Rewriting the rules of retail: our investment in Purple DotRewriting the rules of retail: our investment in Purple Dot
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Editor's note: 
Purple Dot co-founders John Talbott and Madeline Parra

In 2020, eCommerce grew almost 28% to $4.3T globally, adding nearly $1T in spending in just one year. With the continued growth platforms like Shopify, it’s never been easier to sell things online. But while legacy companies have dedicated teams for supply chain and technology innovation, smaller merchants have had to go it alone. With this in mind, Unusual Ventures is thrilled to be leading Purple Dot’s $4M funding round alongside our friends at Connect Ventures, Moxxie Ventures, and the family office of Indeed co-founder Paul Forster. 


The Purple Dot team is fundamentally rewriting the rules of retail. Traditional retail is binary; merchants only sell what they have in stock. Merchants try their best to predict demand, but often underorder (leading to lost sales) or overorder (causing discounting and waste). At the core, Purple Dot empowers retailers to be more responsive to customer preferences and provides tools for inventory and sales that can adapt to a changing landscape. 


Purple Dot is the first waitlist and pre-order platform, allowing merchants to sell inventory before it arrives in the warehouse. According to Purple Dot co-founder and CEO, Madeline Parra “By selling earlier, brands open up a whole new window to capture sales. The legacy mindset and technology assumes you need inventory in the warehouse to sell it. But with Purple Dot, you can always be selling.” 


Their solution couldn’t be more timely. With a global supply chain crisis delaying inventory in nearly every sector, the need for pre-sale has never been greater. We continue to be impressed with Purple Dot’s simplicity to merchants, including its ability to integrate in just a few days. 


The Purple Dot system also provides data-led insights earlier, ensuring retailers order the correct amount of stock. From the most popular products to the most sought-after colors, Purple Dot gives merchants an earlier view of product performance, eliminating some of the guesswork in buying/planning. 


For co-founders Madeline Parra and John Talbott, this is not their first rodeo. The pair previously co-founded Twizoo (acquired by Skyscanner) and worked together as Head of Product & Director of Engineering at Skyscanner. Since the start of 2021, Purple Dot’s waitlists have helped facilitate the sale of tens of thousands of items worth millions of dollars. 


We are excited at the opportunity Purple Dot offers merchants, and we are eager for the more efficient and sustainable eCommerce future they are enabling. 


Congratulations to Madeline, John, and the entire Purple Dot team.


Onward!


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