With a $3.25M raise, Arlington's Recurate is using software to reduce fast fashion waste - Technical.ly DC

Growth

With a $3.25M raise, Arlington’s Recurate is using software to reduce fast fashion waste

The NoVa company developed integration software for brands to resell used products directly on their sites. CEO Adam Siegel says Recurate will use the funding to hire and continue developing the technology.

Recurate cofounder Adam Siegel.

(Courtesy photo)

We’ll let Recurate take this tagline for free: “Ecommerce never looked so good.” (Eh?)

The Arlington-based, sustainability-minded ecommerce integration company announced a $3.25 million raise this month led by Gradient Ventures and Rise of the Rest.

Its web integration software, built using AWS and Ruby on Rails, gives brands the ability to host peer-to-peer resale of products similar to third-party sites like Poshmark and Depop. In exchange for selling, those using the platform to get rid of their old purchases can receive cash or store credit while offering brands the chance to recoup some of the money from the sale.

Using Recurate, founder and CEO Adam Siegel said the goal is for companies to be able to sell a garment a few times instead of just once, offering additional revenue and the chance to reduce waste.

“From our perspective, a product that’s already been produced but is sitting under someone’s bed, in someone’s closet, or storage unit or garage, that product is just going unused right now,” Siegel told Technical.ly. “And if we can find a way to bring that item back into circulation so that somebody else can enjoy it, that negates the need to produce new products and all the energy, water, waste, materials that goes into producing new.”

The company, which launched in November 2019, coincided with the “meteoric” growth of the ecommerce market following the pandemic (brb while I go check for that package I’m waiting on). This included the online secondhand market, pioneered by eBay and taken to a new level with sites like ThredUp, the RealReal and Facebook Marketplace in recent years. But both Siegel and partner Wilson Griffin had experience in retail — Siegel at the Retail Industry Leaders Association and Griffin at Gap and Produce Fresh Apparel — which is how Siegel said both knew that brands weren’t seeing gains from the growth of the resell market.

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“They’re seeing that their stuff is being sold on third-party platforms, and they’re just not benefitting from knowing who their customer is, they don’t even know who’s purchasing their stuff, much less [benefitting] financially from that transaction,” Siegel said.

With the raise, he hopes that Recurate can further build out its technology to add more brands and further support the customer service team. Recurate will also be using the funding to expand its team locally and remote; it’s currently hiring for four positions and will likely be adding another four to six through the end of the year.

Right now, it works with brands such as RE/DONE, Womance and Brass to create secondhand marketplaces on the brand websites. The company also announced last week partnerships with Mara Hoffman, La Ligne and Peak Design, and Siegel said it will be launching with a few additional large brands in the near future.

On top of offering brands an additional revenue stream, Siegel hopes his company can help reduce ecommerce’s environmental impacts. Siegel said that particularly in fashion, where most of Recurate’s brands are located, there has been a concerted effort in the last few years to make the industry more sustainable and circular, meaning products can be reused or upcycled after their initial purchase. According to a UN report, about 92 million tons of textile waste is created annually, and 84% of clothing ends up in landfills.

Per Siegel and Griffin, the most sustainable products are those purchased used, which is what led to Recurate’s mission of providing a secondhand solution. In April, the company partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America in honor of Earth Month for a speaker series on circular fashion.

“Brands recognize that, as an industry, there’s significant amounts of environmental impacts associated with the production and sale of clothing, especially with the rise of fast fashion over the last couple of decades,” Siegel said. “So this is a clear way to engage consumers in that more sustainable transition.”

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