Year-old CollX is starting 2023 on the right cleat after announcing today that it raised $5.5 million in a seed round.
The round was led by the Austin-based venture fund Brand Foundry Ventures. Other investors included Next Coast Ventures, FJ Labs, 114 Ventures, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Morrison Seger Venture Capital Partners.
According to cofounder and CEO Ted Mann, the company, which makes a collectables valuation app for items such as sports trading cards, previously raised its funding from angel investors. That includes the likes of Crossbeam CEO Bob Moore, Philadelphia 76ers co-owner David Adelman and Philly’s Juno Capital, per a press release. These investments converted into equity as part of this round, making it “effectively one equity round,” he told Technical.ly.
With this new capital, Mann said, CollX plans to expand its team with engineering, marketing and operations roles. The company currently has 20 employees, most of whom are based in the Greater Philadelphia region.
“It also gives us some of the capital to expand our marketing and paid user acquisition,” he said, including “advertising to grow the the app even further.”
The funding will also be used to continue building Card Dealer Pro, which is CollX’s software for card stores and dealers to inventory their cards. CollX acquired Card Dealer Pro, the Denver-based company, in summer 2022, bringing on founder Fred Barnes as president and new cofounder of CollX in the process. (Mann is based in Haddonfield, while cofounder and CTO Kostas Nasis is in Mount Holly.)
“For decades there hasn’t been any software to help collectors keep track of their cards, or dealers to manage their business,” Barnes said in a statement. “In just the past year we’ve seen how much of a game-changer this technology can be in the trading card industry.”
Two projects that Collx plans to launch soon are a pro tier in the app that will be a paid monthly subscriptions to access more features in the app, which is otherwise free. Mann said this is targeted toward “power collectors.”
The company also aims to launch a marketplace experience where users can pay within the app when purchasing a card. This year, Mann said he wants to focus on this marketplace feature as a productive way for users to buy and sell cards in the app, as well as connecting Card Dealer Pro to the marketplace so professional dealers can use it as another platform to sell cards. The CEO declined to say when these features are expected to come out.
Those releases are “very important also in terms of helping us monetize the app and making real revenue,” he said.
The app launched a little over a year ago in January 2022, and already has 600,000 users, per Mann. (No small feat, it was also made Technical.ly’s RealList Startups list in January.) He attributes the app’s fast growth to the fact that it’s solving a common challenge in the card collecting community.
“We have been able to afford to grow pretty quickly without having spent hardly any money on marketing,” Mann said, “and I think it just speaks to the universality of the problem we’re solving.”Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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