PawnGuru, an online marketplace connecting pawn shops and consumers, today announces the close of a $2.5 million Series A. With this funding, PawnGuru intends to expand its network of shops within the US, as well as to international markets, giving consumers worldwide the power to buy directly from local pawn shops online.
Investors Impact America Fund and Invest Detroit Ventures lead the round, with additional support from angel investors, building on the support of previous investors such as Los Angeles-based Mucker Capital. Commenting on the follow-on round, Patricia Glaza, Managing Director, Invest Detroit Ventures, which first invested in PawnGuru two years ago, said, “We are excited to continue our support of the PawnGuru team in this latest round of financing. We have watched the company grow from early MVP to a force in the industry, driving innovation in pawnshop transactions and consumer awareness.”
Using the new funding, PawnGuru will continue to build its online marketplace, identifying the most reputable shops and bringing consumers greater transparency by showing them offers from multiple local pawn shops. According to a PawnGuru study in February 2016, offers for the same item vary between pawn shops in the same city by an average of 270%, translating to differences of hundreds and thousands of dollars for the consumer. Because most pawn consumers need money quickly, they do not have the luxury of visiting multiple shops to get the best offer. PawnGuru allows them to gain access to money quickly by knowing ahead of time which shop will be able to offer them the best deal for their items.
“We started PawnGuru because we saw an opportunity for technology to help low-income and unbanked consumers,” said the company’s CEO Jonathan Polter. “The internet has brought transparency to nearly every other retail industry. Why should pawn be any different?” Early investor Erik Rannala of Mucker Capital agrees: “What always got us excited about PawnGuru was their vision to bring a very large and fragmented offline market, online; and they are executing on that opportunity.”
Launched in 2015, PawnGuru has had average year-over-year growth of 500%. Since inception nearly 800,000 consumers from across the US have joined PawnGuru to connect with local pawn shops — 55,000 of those in the last 30 days alone. To address consumer demand, PawnGuru has grown to include a network of 4,500 pawn shops across the country — 25% of the entire US market. Thanks to the new wave of funding, PawnGuru can facilitate the growing demands of users while expanding into international markets, and bringing fairer prices and knowledge to a larger number of consumers.
“PawnGuru differs from many of the emerging fintech solutions by targeting underserved communities. This is because PawnGuru recognizes the importance of pawn shops as community micro-finance institutions, and is using technology as a tool to enhance the transaction experience for pawn shop customers and owners,” said Kesha Cash, General Partner, Impact America Fund. “We are thrilled about our partnership with PawnGuru and the opportunity to support the company through its next phase of growth.”