Carro has created a spin on the traditional dropship model, allowing brands to easily network and cross-sell on other brands sites, while allowing social influencers to create their own marketplaces to further monetize large followings by offering recommended products on their own sites.
The Carro platform, which has 350,000 visitors a month, is also a sort of matchmaker, connecting brands with influencers promoting them in order to expand their product reach and drive increased sales. The company has raised $30 million to date, including a $20 million Series B round in November led by Alpha Edison, with participation from PayPal Ventures, GC1 Ventures, Corazon Capital and a number of high-profile influencers and retail executives.
CEO and co-founder David Perry said brands are missing an opportunity to easily offer and sell related products from other brands, which is where Carro comes in. The platform has a network of more than 30,000 brands, including Chubbies, Arizona Tea and Rachel Zoe, and influencers like Zac Brown Band and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson.
“When the pandemic hit, attention was important but sales were more important to brands,” said Perry, who came out of the gaming world as former CEO of Sony development unit Gaikai. “People were on a singular track like, I sell bikes online. When someone buys your bike, they need a helmet, so they go to Amazon and type in ‘helmet.’ Do you want them to leave your site? What things are missing you can easily add? Why not have those products today?”
While more popular, high-end brands can easily get inundated with requests to partner and cross-sell their products, Carro has an area carved out where they can collaborate together without all the network noise.
“It’s a bit like a dating site, if someone is good looking, they’re getting too much action,” Perry said. “It’s the same problem with brands that attract the most interest, they get hammered with requests for partnering.”
Influencers, instead of getting a 3%-5% cut on sales from items sold on Amazon, can set up their own store on Carro and get a retailer’s cut of around 30% from brands whose products they sell, Perry said. “Plus, they’re building a customer database, and their own Shopify store to capture all of them.”
A new feature in the Carro app allows for bundling of multiple related products into a single SKU. For instance, it could be a collection of a celebrity influencer’s branded skincare products, or 20 items in a puppy starter kit.
Perry said he connected with Carro co-founder and president Jason Goldberg when both were helping out with a business class at a high school in San Juan Capistrano, CA. “Jason was an entrepreneur looking to raise $1 million, and I was an investor. The students came up with ideas to pitch to the investor.”
The idea for Carro came from a dinner Perry had with his daughter and some of her friends, one of whom was a 12-year-old influencer making $30,000 a month. The mother of the girl said their hotel room was constantly filled with makeup samples, all of which were thrown away because she was too young. But at dinner, a friend told the girl she loved her backpack.
“We filmed the hotel room, thought it was funny,” Perry said. “Someone paid an agency to do that, and they thought they were doing a great job, but not really. I’d much rather be the backpack company than the makeup company, that’s an authentic relationship like her Instagram followers. How do we connect her with that backpack company?”