Before it was a smash hit, clothing resale app Poshmark struggled to convince investors that mobile was the future. Here's the original, 2011 pitch deck that inspired one VC to bet on it.
- Poshmark, a clothing resale app, is one of the privately funded tech companies rumored to go public before the end of 2019 after it confidentially filed with the SEC in April.
- The company was founded in 2011 as GoshPosh before cofounder and CEO Manish Chandra settled on the name Poshmark.
- Besides the name, the company's mission and vision have largely remained the same since its first funding round, and has raised over $159 million in private venture funding.
- Here is the first pitch deck Chandra used to raise $3.5 million in Series A funding led by Mayfield Partners in February 2011.
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Poshmark, the popular clothing resale app, is preparing to list shares on the public markets after filing confidential IPO paperwork with the SEC in April.
The timing sets up the buzzy startup, which has raised more than $159 million in venture capital, to go public in mid or late September along with other high profile startups like WeWork and Peloton. Similar to those companies, Poshmark isn't profitable, but has looked at expanding into home decor, men's clothing, and children's clothing resale to up the ante ahead of a public debut.
The 8-year-old company was originally founded as GoshPosh by CEO Manish Chandra, Tracy Sun, Gautam Golwala, and Chetan Pungaliya.
"The original idea of GoshPosh was "Gosh, it's posh," like it was surprisingly stylish," Chandra told Business Insider. "But 'gosh' has a really interesting connotation so we started looking for something else, but I was insistent to having posh in the name. The name search was a crazy process, but Poshmark appealed to us because it worked on a few levels."
Poshmark's planned IPO will be Chandra's first time taking a company public even though the company is his second. He sold his first company Kaboodle, an earlier version of Pinterest, to Hearst in 2007 for an undisclosed amount.
"That was the first time in understanding social shopping," Chandra said. "When I left Kaboodle and Hearst in 2010, I knew I wanted to pursue this, but the technology didn't exist. The idea was reborn with the advent of the iPhone 4 because it had great picture taking capabilities and editing capability."
Chandra said he and his founding team struggled to convince investors that Poshmark could be a successful app that only lived on a user's mobile device. According to Chandra, multiple investors asked the team to develop a version that worked on a web browser or completely abandon mobile for more familiar territory. But the entrepreneur's track record was enough to convince Navin Chadda, managing partner at Mayfield fund.
"He pitched me his last company Kaboodle but I didn't think that was a venture opportunity so I didn't invest," Chadda told Business Insider. "We kept in touch, and in 2010 he was thinking about what to do next and was very intrigued with what the iPhone had done. He had shut off from using PCs entirely and was only on mobile, so we brainstormed what you could do to marry social networks around photos with commerce."
Chadda ended up leading Poshmark's $3.5 million Series A in February 2011 that valued the company at $6.5 million. His conviction in Chandra and his team paid off: the company was recently valued at $625 million and will raise even more if the public offering goes as planned.
"He is the soul and driving force," Chadda said of Chandra. "He is the person to keep leading this company and build it into an industry giant."
See Chandra's original pitch deck for GoshPosh that convinced Mayfield to back the company when other investors turned away.