Tokyo-based Active Sonar, the startup behind luxury brand consignment app Reclo, announced today that it has fundraised 245 million yen (about $2 million) from B Dash Ventures and Future Investment.
Coinciding with the funds, the company unveiled that it will set up their information distribution channel in Japanese news curation app Gunosy with aiming to better reach their potential customers.
In addition, Reclo announced today that it will launch an app called Flip on December 9th. Flip is a 48-hour flash sales app for mobile users, providing time-limited deals on trending and affordable items.
According to Active Sonar CEO Koji Aoki, the company has acquired 170,000 dowonloads of the mobile app since its launch six months ago. They boast a high repeat customer ratio, where almost a half of their users have come back to the app again to buy another item. Aoki explained why their users are well satisfied:
The main reason is obviously we provide luxury brand items for overwhelmingly low prices. We give 60% to 90% discounts for selected items.
In consignment business, a key issue is how to fill an inventory with collected items from the market. Reclo serves more than 2,500 items for now. They had been buying items from second-hand distributors at their launch, but now over a half of their inventory is being submitted from users.
I have heard that a massive and continuous community development is very important to encourage individuals to sell their luxury items via online consignment services such as TheRealReal Japan. With this kind of continuous efforts, Aoki thinks that they can expand their business from luxury fashion clothing beyond to furniture. Almost 80% of their users come from mobile, mostly females in around the age of 30 or 40.
While they are steadily growing in both app downloads and user acquisition, they need some more gimmick for overwhelming growth. So they focused on Gunosy because of its high user traffic and partnered for creating the Recro channel in the Gunosy app. However, given that a unique user demographics on the Recro app, they will have to add something more to boost their growth.
That’s why they decided to develop flash sales app Flip. Their team has some former Groupon Japan employees who have many experiences on flash marketing. Aoki elaborated:
On Flip, we will sell items which are unlikely to let users decide whether or not buy. As described in the name, we will list new items fast and furiously.
Prior to launching Active Sonar in 2012, the company’s CEO Aoki has been previously running a mineral water distribution company. He quit the previous company to launch Active Sonar with aiming to create a new business at his own risk.