TORONTO & NAIROBI, Kenya--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Digital wholesale platform Powered by People (“PBP”) announced today that it has secured US$8 million in series A equity funding. The company will use the funds to continue scaling its global operations and technology. PBP provides small-batch, independent maker brands from over 70 countries with technology solutions that enable them to sell their sustainably made goods at scale to retail and trade buyers. The equity round was led by Altos Ventures, with participation from PBP’s existing investors including Golden Ventures and Susa Ventures.
“Powered by People is transforming the wholesale market by empowering local makers to reach a global audience while providing retailers with access to unique and sustainable products,” said Tae Yoon of Altos Ventures. “We are thrilled to support the visionary and purpose driven PBP team as they pioneer a more equitable and digital future for the industry.”
In addition, PBP has received an incremental US$5.6 million in grants from various philanthropic organizations, including TRANSFORM. PBP’s unique blended capital model has proven to deliver commercial success for its partners while catalyzing positive social and environmental impact. These new grants have been earmarked to support traditionally underserved makers in Africa and beyond by providing them access to PBP’s digital marketplace and expanded financing options.
The sustainability and conscious consumerism space has proven to withstand times of economic uncertainty, evidenced by PBP achieving 500% growth over the last year. PBP also recently launched a partnership with West Elm, where PBP sources and curates on behalf of Westelm.com a collection of high quality artisanal products from over a dozen independent makers from around the world (with new makers being added for Spring 2023). PBP uniquely supports both consumers’ growing demand for authenticity and transparency and retailers’ desire to offer merchandise with provenance and diversity.
“This successful funding round serves as a powerful testament that ’doing good’ can be a source of competitive advantage,” said Ella Peinovich-Griffith, CEO of Powered by People. “At PBP, we have seen the power dynamic shift from ubiquitous, mass-produced factory goods in favor of small-batch manufacturers and brands creating exclusive products. Retail is changing, and the best retailers are looking for unique, values-driven merchandise from diverse brands in order to attract and hold the attention of customers.”
While the World Economic Forum forecasts that the handmade and small-batch sector will reach $1 trillion by 2024, the sector has historically lacked investment, digitization and access to global markets. PBP is using technology for good to level the playing field for makers so they can compete globally with much larger manufacturers of factory-made goods.
PBP works with more than 2,500 brands and producers from over 70 countries while providing retailers access to high-quality, responsibly made products across the home, fashion, jewelry, and apothecary categories. Customers range from independent boutiques across major markets, all the way to large retailers such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, and The Citizenry.
About Powered by People
Powered by People was founded in 2021 by Ella Peinovich, Hedvig Alexander and Alison Phillips, passionate social entrepreneurs whose combined experience in technology, economic development, design and retail have made a positive impact on the lives of artisans in communities all over the world. The company’s B2B wholesale platform seamlessly connects buyers in North America and Europe with small-batch producers in more than 70 countries around the world. The Powered by People marketplace makes responsible, sustainable and social impact buying easy by providing financing to makers and flexible payment terms to buyers. International communications, payments and logistics are supported through the company for frictionless transactions. Ultimately, Powered by People is maker-led with a mission to take small batch mainstream. When small businesses thrive, they support not just themselves, but also their employees, families and communities. As they grow, Powered by People grows. To learn more, please visit www.poweredbypeople.com