Digital-Commerce Gains Through Passport and Whatnot Funding

For two California digital-commerce companies, the year is ending with venture-capital funding. On Dec. 17, the San Francisco–headquartered Passport, an international shipping carrier developed to serve e-commerce and direct-to-consumer brands, announced that it had raised $12 million in Series A funding.

The funding round was led by the Santa Monica, Calif.–based M13 with participation from Resolute Ventures, Precursor, Kleiner Perkins, RiverPark and Republic. Passport will use the funds to develop its parcel supply-chain network and continue to scale its operations. Alex Yancher, Passport’s chief executive officer, said that many shipping companies have not caught up with new ways of doing business.

“The fastest-growing buyers of international shipping are now e-commerce merchants, and until now their only options were to rely on a patchwork of solutions built on top of legacy carriers that have little to no software offerings,” said Yancher. “At Passport, we’re able to offer them both a world-class logistics network and the software and support necessary to deliver a consistent post-purchase brand experience anywhere in the world.”

Also on Dec. 17, Whatnot, a Los Angeles–headquartered live-streaming platform and marketplace, announced that it had raised $4 million in seed funding with participation from Scribble Ventures, Wonder Ventures, Operator Partners, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures and Twenty Two Ventures among others. Whatnot plans to use the funds to hire more staff and expand into new markets such as vintage fashion, said Logan Head, Whatnot’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

Whatnot’s technology helps guarantee authenticity of items sold in its marketplace and also offers live streaming to help people connect and make transactions in real time.

“Fandom has always had a place online but truly thrived at in-person events and with local retailers that catered to collectors and enthusiasts interested in one-of-a-kind and holy-grail items,” Head said. “We built Whatnot not just to enable transactions but to capture the fun of the in-person experience so our communities can connect in real time and geek out with their favorite sellers.”