Mayfield partner Navin Chaddha and Poshmark founder and CEO Manish Chandra met all the way back in 2003, well before Poshmark was even a glimmer in his eye. They stayed connected over the years, through Chandra’s sale of his startup Kaboodle to Hearst and after he left.
At a breakfast one morning, Chandra told Chaddha he was going to try to do everything from his iPhone for the next six months.
Over the course of that time, the idea for Poshmark started to percolate into something more concrete. Chandra, following Kaboodle, knew he wanted to do several things differently. The first was create an engagement and revenue model that was symbiotic, rather than starting with engagement and having to build out a business model later. He also knew he wanted to start with people first, and build a founding team that had deep DNA in the fashion world to pair with his technical background.
He met Tracy Sun, brought her on, and got to work.
This was back in 2011, and Chandra was absolutely adamant that he wanted Poshmark to be an app, not a website. So adamant, in fact, that during beta he actually provided 100 users with video iPods. (He recalled that he only got 20% of them back.)
“Lead with love, and the money comes.” It’s one of the cornerstone values at Poshmark. The company practiced that early on by holding IRL, and then virtual, parties, allowing users to show each other their wares and create an engagement cycle that offered instant gratification. The user base grew from 100 to 150 to 1,000 and so on.
“We still to this day use a similar kind of strategy in a much more compressed timeframe as we go to different countries,” said Chandra. “We focus on building the community first and then scale that community.”
Chaddha and Mayfield led the company’s Series A deal a decade ago. On the latest episode of Extra Crunch Live, Chandra and Chaddha sat down with us and walked us through that original Series A pitch deck (which you can check out below). They also participated in the Pitch Deck Teardown, giving their expert feedback on decks submitted by the audience. If you’d like your deck to be featured on a future episode of Extra Crunch Live, hit up this link.
Poshmark’s Series A Deck
Time stamp — 11:00
Poshmark was built on a couple fundamental premises. The first was that the iPhone would transform the way we do just about everything. The second was more pointed: That fashion, at the time underserved by technology, was a discovery process over a direct search process. A decade ago, Chandra envisioned a fashion marketplace that mimicked shopping in the real world — walk into a shop and let natural attraction do its thing — without holding any inventory.