Former Snap Exec to Take On Amazon With New Online Venture

April Davis By April Davis | 13 Feb 2019

A former Snapchat executive and Amazon employee have reportedly raised $17.5 million from investors to launch a rival marketplace.

Imran Khan, the former chief strategy officer at Snap, has unveiled a marketplace that will rival the likes of Amazon. His wife, Cate Khan will also be heavily involved in the project, after spending almost eight years working at Amazon.

In a post that first appeared on Medium, the new digital marketplace, Verishop, said the company has been founded on the simple idea of creating “an online retailer that better serves both customers and brands”.

“E-commerce was supposed to make shopping easier, and for everyday commodity items, it has. Search, add to cart, check out; done. But in making the experience more efficient, it lost much of the joy of discovering something new that you truly love,” the post said.

Taking to LinkedIn to discuss the business’s development, Co-Founder, Cate Khan said Verishop will be a platform that provides shoppers with “confidence in what they’re getting”.

“The day I received a counterfeit beauty product from the online marketplace where I buy most of my household items was the day that solidified that we needed a better way to shop,” she wrote.

“From that moment on, I was scared to buy any beauty products or other lifestyle goods from the place where I purchased my paper towels and USB cables. I also realised that this fear of counterfeit products and unvetted sellers was also a concern for brands,” she continued.

From here, Verishop was born. However, while early descriptions of the business make it sound like a marketplace, Khan insists that Verishop will be a “first-party online retailer” that will “deliver a great shopping experience for customers with free and fast shipping and easy returns.”

“We see an opportunity for an e-commerce company to bring joy back to online shopping,” Khan said.

According to the post on Medium, the platform will also make selling easier for brands, with the founders already in discussions with a number of existing and up-and-coming brands that are interested in launching on the platform. Among those that have already agreed to sell on Verishop are beauty retailers Ursa Major and Indie Lee and apparel brands Finders Keepers and J.O.A, sources close to the matter say.

So far, the company says it has raised $17.5 million from investors, led by Lightspeed Ventures.

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