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Faire raises another US$416M – Communitech

Faire has raised another US$416 million through an extension of its Series G round, more than doubling the size of the initial tranche and boosting the unicorn’s current valuation to US$12.59 billion.

“We will use this additional funding to invest in product development and build a world-class team,” the company said in a brief statement. “We look forward to continuing to expand our global marketplace to support our growing network of independent brands and retailers throughout North America, Europe and Australia.”

Faire, which operates an online wholesale marketplace that uses machine learning to connect independent retailers and suppliers, has raised more than US$1.4 billion since it was launched simultaneously in Waterloo and San Francisco in 2017.

Last November, the company announced a Series G round that initially raised US$400 million and was co-led by Durable Capital Partners LP, D1 Capital Partners and Dragoneer Investment Group. According to TechCrunch, the extension revealed this week included US$196 million from Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator, and US$220 million from existing investors.

Faire has come a long way in five years.

Originally called Indigo Fair, the company was founded by Max Rhodes, Marcelo Cortes, Daniele Perito and Jeff Kolovson, who met while working for mobile-payments company Square. Their business concept – an online wholesale marketplace to help small product-makers get their goods onto store shelves – wowed investors at the Y Combinator’s Winter Demo Day in March 2017.

The founders chose to headquarter their startup in San Francisco while basing their engineering team in Waterloo to take advantage of the region’s rich supply of tech talent.

Cortes, who serves as CTO, established a three-person engineering team that initially operated out of UW’s Velocity incubator in the Tannery building in downtown Kitchener. Today, Faire’s local operation numbers more than 200 employees and occupies 60,000 square feet in the former Shopify building at 85 Willis Way in Waterloo.

While much of the company’s engineering is still done in Waterloo, Faire has added engineering sites in Toronto and São Paulo, Brazil, as well as an all-remote team that was created to ensure that staff who worked from home didn’t feel excluded from teams that have returned to working in the office.

Launched first in North America, the Faire platform was made available in 15 new markets in Europe and the U.K. one year ago. Just last month, it rolled out in Australia

The Faire platform currently connects more than 450,000 retailers with 70,000 brands, or product makers, around the world, the company says.

"Communitech helps tech-driven companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: - Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies. - Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate. - Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant."

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