Panjo, a marketplace for the world's most ardent auto, sport and hobby enthusiasts, today announced the company has secured $1.6 million in seed funding led by Spark Capital, with Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Lerer Ventures and Mesa. This round of funding will enable Panjo to significantly grow the company's marketplace and enthusiast partner network. Additionally, Panjo will create a mobile app to coincide with the Web-based platform, as well as a distribution network for members to share listings with non-members.
The start-up, founded by Chad Billmyer, Juan Vasconez, and Tom Gerken, is an alumnus of the Santa Monica-based accelerator MuckerLab. Each year, 350 million enthusiasts spend $15 billion in online communities to purchase products, parts and accessories from fellow community members. The platform is a response to the inefficiencies buyers and sellers face in the typical peer-to-peer community setting, including fraud, failure to sell items and cluttered classifieds.
Panjo equips enthusiasts with the tools they need to discover, start, manage, promote and process payments for peer-to-peer sales. Sellers are already completing more than $500,000 in monthly gross merchandise sales on the Panjo platform.
"Enthusiasts are some of the most passionate buyers and sellers in the digital commerce marketplace, but they are too often met with frustrating and fragmented experiences when dealing with peer-to-peer communities," said Panjo CEO Chad Billmyer. "Panjo seeks to make things easier for the enthusiast through a well-organized listings section and the implementation of a simple 'list, pay and ship' structure. We have already generated 25 times better sell through rates than our biggest competitors."
"Panjo is rapidly gaining noteworthy traction through partnerships with forum-based communities," said Spark Capital PrincipalAndrew Parker. "Online marketplaces and peer-to-peer transactions are continuing to gain popularity, and I am convinced that Panjo's solution will cut through the noise and become the favored option for high-end products and accessories for enthusiasts around the world."