TECH

Faircado raises $3M to nudge people to buy pre-owned goods

Thrift shopping is always a gamble. That cool shirt could wash out sooner than later, and there’s no knowing where those rugged jeans have been. Sure, some stores or websites try to filter out the bad apples, but it’s hard to get a good deal on the internet when there are so many options.

Berlin-based Faircado has built a browser extension that aims to solve that exact problem. The company wants to become the discovery layer for pre-owned goods, and has raised €3 million in a round led by World Fund. Accel, General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, NEA, Northzone, BackBone Ventures, Earlybird, and Minc accelerator also participated.

The idea is pretty simple: The extension uses a combination of image and text matching to suggest pre-owned alternatives when you look for a product on sites like Amazon, Zalando or Patagonia.

For instance, if you are looking for a new iPhone to buy on Amazon, the extension will automatically show you pre-owned options from sites like eBay. Currently, Faircado’s extension works with electronics, books and apparel.

The company said the extension supports 1,600 sites, including Amazon, Zalando, Patagonia and Apple. These recommendations are sourced from more than 50 partners including eBay, Back Market, Grailed, Rebuy and Vestiaire Collective.

While you can download and use the Faircado extension from anywhere, the company is focusing on expanding in Germany first, and plans to launch in the U.K. later this year.

The extension is currently in beta with a few thousand users. The company didn’t disclose how much commerce it has driven so far, but it said the average basket size is about €200, with “multiple purchases per user, per month.”

The Faircado team. Image Credits: Faircado

Faircado was founded in 2022 by Evoléna de Wilde d’Estmael and Ali Nezamolmaleki, who met at Y Comibnator-backed AirHelp.

De Wilde d‘Estmael said she came up with the idea for the startup when thinking about how to make finding second hand items easier.

“I have been a fan of second-hand [things] my whole life and somehow could really convince my friends to get away from Amazon, IKEA or Zara and adopt a more sustainable way of consuming. When you looked for something second-hand, the experience was typically time consuming, inconvenient and unsexy. We wanted to make this process more accessible,” she told TechCrunch over a call.

De Wilde d‘Estmael said the extension is the first step to pointing consumers towards more sustainable shopping sources. The company is also looking to develop native mobile apps, targeting the discovery layer for pre-owned goods.

Tim Schumacher, a partner at World Fund, which invests in green companies, said that decarbonization starts with people buying fewer new goods, and the fund decided to invest in Faircado as the startup plays a big role in that process.

“Faircado was almost an accident that we stumbled upon. We have been following them since their early days, and the progress they made on the AI front was also good. So we decided that it is a great fit for investment,” he told TechCrunch over a call. He added that the extension also serves to mitigate the friction of changing consumer behavior around buying pre-owned goods.

Faircado makes money from affiliate sales and on the basis of clicks. The company is not cash-flow positive yet and wants to concentrate on growth at the moment, De Wilde d‘Estmael said.

The startup said it will use the funding to hire developers and marketing staff, aiming to double its current headcount of 10 by the end of the year. The company last year brought on Oliver Hale as COO, who had previously built second-hand marketplace Buckit.

The startup directly competes with Buoyant Ventures-backed Beni, which also offers an extension for U.S.-based shoppers. There is also Gently, which acts as an aggregator for second-hand apparel. However, Faircado is hopeful that its positioning in Europe will be a key driver of its growth.

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