Austin-based LoveSeat recently raised $7 million led by Bessemer Venture Partners (Philly angle)

Tom Paine

Actually, the concept that would become LoveSeat was hatched in
Philly back around 2013 by Wharton grad and TicketLeap founder Chris Stanchak and his wife Jennifer Stanchak, who was one of the earliest employees of Venmo, which was founded in Philly. The couple moved to Southern Califomia and formally launched LoveSeat, which was in the business of finding, restoring and reselling vintage furniture.

Although the vintage business could be fun and profitable, it was limited by the difficulty in obtaining inventory and was hard to scale. But the Stanchacks in the process found a more attractive business to pivot to: purchasing almost new furniture and other household fixtures that were returned to stores within a company’s return policy. Stores or online retailers have little use for the returned product. It often ended up in landfills.

A key to making the concept work
was use of live auctions to sell product. This model dictates that live auctions be locally based (which also eliminates shipping costs), though that may slow the pace of expansion.

After the pivot, LoveSeat showed margins and unit growth potential strong enough to get the attention of top of the line VCs, such as Bessemer. That firm is known for its Bessemer Cloud Index, which tracks the performance of publicly traded cloud computimg ventures. Love Seat was more of a hybrid, combining physical and virtual elements; the company has built a SasS app to help manage the business.

The investment round included participation from angels who had backed the venture previously, including DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg.

LoveSeat will use the funds to round out its senior management team and expand its physical locaions with an initial concentration on Texas.

But Chris Stanchack told me in a phone interview that he wanted to give a shoutout to people in Philly, which fits into LoveSeat’s longer term expansion plans.