A Stock Market For Sneakers? It Launched Today

DETROIT — Detroit’s Dan Gilbert is one of the founders of a new venture that calls itself a “stock market of things.”

StockX will allow users to buy and sell valuable limited-edition products with all the visibility of the stock market. In other words, you’ll know exactly what those collectibles are worth on a day to day basis. Buyers and sellers will remain anonymous, but the price won’t.

And believe it or not, StockX is starting its markets with athletic shoes — or, as the company said in a press release, the “secondary sneaker space.”

StockX’s co-founder is Josh Luber, who in 2012 founded a website called Campless.com, which served as a valuation site for limited-edition sneakers. Luber will be StockX’s CEO.

A press release from the company said users of the StockX exchange will find historical price and volume metrics, real-time bids and offers (asks), time-stamped trades and additional analytics on every sneaker model presented on the marketplace — in other words, “an open, unbiased, visible and authentic platform.”

Lest you laugh at the secondary sneaker space, StockX says it’s a multi-billion-dollar market. At launch, StockX expects to have more than 15,000 pairs of limited release sneakers representing 3,500 models.

StockX said it will only allow unworn, preserved, original boxed sneakers known as “deadstock” to trade on its exchange. And, the company said its buyers will be assured of the authenticity of sneakers purchased on the exchange through “a proprietary process to verify the authenticity of each pair of shoes traded on the platform.”

StockX said its technology will also allow users to create their own personalized ‘sneaker portfolio’ by uploading their entire current collection. StockX will then price the individual portfolio in real time so a user can evaluate gains and losses, as well as compare and contrast their sneaker collection to other users on the platform. This feature puts the sneaker trader on par with the same kind of metrics that have only been traditionally available for stock and financial portfolio analysis.

“The online secondary sneaker market has been around for more than 15 years, and it has grown exponentially during that time, but up until today, was still using outdated e-commerce platforms designed in the late 90’s,” Luber said. “The simplicity and sophistication of a stock market is the perfect platform to catapult the industry into present day and well beyond. Sneakers are the perfect gateway product to allow us to prove our belief that the StockX exchange will replace e-commerce for certain limited edition, high-demand consumer products.”

Joining Gilbert and Luber in the early-stage investment is the San Francisco-based angel investing firm SV Angel and its founder and co-managing partner, Ron Conway; Detroit Venture Partners; Detroit-based Ludlow Ventures; and New York City-based Courtside Ventures. The company also said it plans to announce an expanded investor group including entertainers, athletes and “prominent figures in the sneaker world” soon.

“We rarely invest in high-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley, but the StockX model is very intriguing and is being led by a very experienced and successful management team,” Conway said in a press release, adding that “Detroit is really starting to sprout some interesting tech start-ups … StockX is a great fit for SV Angel’s first investment in the Motor City.” said Conway.

And Gilbert added: “StockX’s live marketplace will harness the internet’s natural ability to facilitate a better way to transact certain segments of ecommerce. We are going to bring the kind of trading platform and visibility to tangible products that financial and commodities markets have used for decades. The efficiency, credibility and liquidity of the financial markets have been foundational to the largest economy in the world. We believe this is the right time to extend this fundamental concept to appropriate sectors of the online consumer marketplace.”

More at www.stockx.com.

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