African porcupine quills, Civil War bullet heads, petrified lightning. These are just a few of the items offered by Bureau of Trade, a new online shopping, entertainment and discovery experience that scours eBay, Craigslist and other major marketplaces to bring its members the world's most unique collections of merchandise, tied together by compelling content that highlights an item's true value – its story.
Bureau of Trade introduces a new shopping category that combines entertainment with commerce to create a fresh experience for customers best described as "transactional entertainment." The company aims to create a forum that specializes in filtered daily finds for men that range from vintage timepieces to classic cars to authentic collectibles (taxidermy werewolf hand, anyone?).
By leveraging eBay and Craigslist, two of the world's largest marketplaces, Bureau of Trade distinguishes itself as a destination site that uncovers untapped treasures that most would not likely find on their own. Since its limited beta launch in February, membership has grown 30% every month, gaining more than 40k users.
Bureau of Trade has raised $1.2 million in seed funding led by Foundation Capital, with contributions from Founder Collective, Courtney Holt on behalf of TechFellows Fund, and select angels.
"I noticed a conspicuous gap in the market for unique and affordable men's merchandise, and realized we could really create something special by tying content to commerce and cultivating a destination for people to get far more out of an online shopping experience," said Michael Phillips Moskowitz, founder of Bureau of Trade. "It's not just about unearthing desirable finds, but informing, entertaining and engaging people. At Bureau of Trade, our goal is to help men present and complete a more compelling portrait of themselves. Make people smarter. Make people laugh. Move from the head to the heart to the pocket book."
Bureau of Trade will use the new funding to expand the capabilities of the site – including new social sharing tools that will allow users to seek advice from those whose opinions they trust most – as well as the demographic it reaches. The site currently focuses on merchandise for men ages 28 to 45, but will introduce, in time, additional sites for other specific demographics. The company will continue to distinguish itself by pushing the boundaries of e-commerce norms, and redefining virtual experiences, narrowing the gap between real world and online shopping.