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Independent retailer platform Creoate raises $5M seed led by Fuel Ventures

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Creoate, a startup that lets independent retailers buy sustainable products from brands and wholesalers, has raised a $5 million seed round led by Fuel Ventures, with participation from Vinted founder Justas Janauskas.

Its competitors include traditional wholesalers that have supplied independent retailers for decades, and other startups such as Faire (U.S., raised $696 million) and Ankorstore (France, raised €115 million).

Founders Ashley Horn and Fahad Khan say the company aims at helping independent businesses and "reclaims the supply chain from global giants". Khan says "Mom and Pop" are “faced with poor information, discriminatory pricing and unpredictable cash flows.”

Creoate, which doesn’t own inventory, says it helps retailers forecast which products will sell well so they can buy and manage inventory levels more easily. It says its cataloging software allows retailers to deal with fewer middlemen.

Launched in January 2020, the platform now claims 25,000 retailers across the U.K., France and Netherlands.

Creoate co-founder Horn said: “Sourcing brands as an independent retailer is close to impossible… We could see that this system was not sustainable and there had to be a better way”.

Mark Pearson, founder and managing partner at Fuel Ventures, said: “Unless you’re in the world of retail, it can be difficult to truly grasp just how broken the system is for the 2.5 million retailers and 30 million emerging brands that Creoate serves. We are captivated by Creoate’s technology which is inspired by the founding team’s real-world experience and empathy.”

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