For the past eight years, online luxury consignment platform The RealReal’s virtual marketplace has been open for buying and selling everything from Gucci sneakers to Coach bags 24/7. Earlier this season, it opened up for trading in another market: the stock market.
San Francisco-based The RealReal had been valued at $1 billion when it was private — officially placing it in “unicorn” territory, as a privately held startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more. When it filed to go public in the spring, its initial market cap was roughly $1.7 billion, and it finished that first week with shares trading for a total of around $2.5 billion.
The timing of The RealReal’s IPO comes among a spate of IPOs this year for startups pioneering shared and sharing service models: mobile ride hailers, Uber and Lyft; home-sharing platform, AirBnb; and online marketplace for third-party and in-house fashion brands, Revolve (there are also rumors of The RealReal’s main rival, Poshmark, another online apparel marketplace, IPO-ing soon).
Among these, though, The RealReal’s achievement stands out — its success comes at a time where brick-and-mortar retail consumption patterns are changing, while the unsustainability of the apparel space grows greater every season. It also shows just how much consumer interest there is in the “sharing model,” which will be key to scaling the circular economy.
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