THE LNK announces it has closed a $1 million seed capital raise in funding. This follows the startup’s initial public launch in late 2022 as the first global affordable luxury marketplace to exclusively represent ethnically diverse indie brands. Founded by Canadian entrepreneur Sonya Gill, THE LNK helps brands overseas sell and market directly to North American consumers, giving them much-needed exposure and tools to break through in a statured market. As a smart marketplace, online aggregator, and lead generation platform, THE LNK uses powerful marketing and AI tools to recommend relevant, high-quality, hidden gems from around the world to customers based on profile and shopping habits. THE LNK will include brands from India to Indonesia, Dubai, Morocco, Turkey, Lithuania, Vietnam, and Africa, specializing in women’s and men’s fashion, cultural fashion, functional beauty, skincare, and accessories.
The funding round was led by Reetu Gupta (Chairwoman and Ambassadress, The Gupta Group) and Suraj Gupta (Founder, Rogue Insight Capital), with participation from Manny Bahia (Founder, Daily Hive), Basem Hanna (Founder, Almega Corp. and TerrAscend), Mona Patel (Founder, Vasant Cosmetics), and other private investors. THE LNK will allocate the capital to further web development, expanding their team, and continuing to redefine eCommerce for unique indie brands around the world.
Tied to this funding, Gill announces that THE LNK welcomes Stephanie Mark as the company’s new Head of Merchandising and Content Strategy, also known as the Co-Founder of luxury media company, Coveteur. Meanwhile, Gill remains backed by an established advisory board, including two recently announced members, Richard McMahon, Former Chief Strategy Officer of Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Alvina Patel, Former VP of Marketing of Farfetch.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the outpour of support from investors coming in from various industries. The seed will allow us to remove hurdles that brands on our platform face, giving them more opportunities, new connections and exciting possibilities,” said Sonya Gill, Founder and CEO of THE LNK. “Until now, it was impossible for indie brands overseas to successfully market to consumers in North America. They had beautiful products but not the tools or expertise to break through all the noise online. Thanks to years of research and development, and overcoming the many challenges of international commerce, we’ve successfully built this unique global marketplace, doubling as a marketing portal, to help close this gap.”
How THE LNK “Closes the Gap”:
- Lead Generation: Offers merchants a lead generation platform that allows them to bid on keywords and create competitive retargeting campaigns at half the cost of other channels such as Facebook or Google.
- Highlight Top Products: Allows brands to highlight top-rated products, select merchandise for promotions, and the ability to offer specific incentives to customers via email or text.
- Aggregator Model: Brings in merchants through their existing websites so they can control their offerings and immediately populate THE LNK with all their products (descriptions, images, sizes, etc.) with the click of a button.
- User Experience: Only allows trusted merchants on the platform and optimizes online shopping experiences with an intuitive search and recommendation engine.
- Trust and Transparency: Provides credibility to less known brands who struggle with building trust, while handling shipping, returns, tax and duties, which can otherwise be confusing for shoppers.
The overseas market alone is valued at $1.7 trillion and continues to grow. Meanwhile, there is a massive addressable market for this shopping platform given the population of North Americans identifying as non-white is rapidly growing. Now shoppers from ethnic backgrounds who are searching for “fusion wear”, for example, can easily find something high-quality, truly unique, and with reasonable shipping timelines free of unexpected duties.
THE LNK vets thousands of indie labels for quality and logistics excellence and compiles only the best for consumers to shop. THE LNK has already recruited nearly 450 brands selling anywhere between 50 and 300 SKUs each and partnered with Canadian logistics company E-Shipper to deliver items from around the world within days to the customer’s front door.
About THE LNK
THE LNK was founded by Canadian entrepreneur Sonya Gill in 2022 as the first global affordable luxury marketplace to exclusively represent ethnically diverse indie brands. THE LNK closes the gap for these diverse indie brands overseas and helps them sell and market directly to North American consumers. As a smart marketplace, online aggregator, and lead generation platform, THE LNK uses its next-generation marketplace technology to recommend high-quality hidden gems around the world and gives these brands a winning chance to be discovered in an otherwise saturated market. THE LNK includes nearly 450 brands from India and other countries it is currently expanding to such as Indonesia, Dubai, Morocco, Turkey, Lithuania, Vietnam, and Africa, specializing in women’s and men’s fashion, cultural fashion, functional beauty, skincare, and accessories.
Find out more at www.thelnk.co and shop at www.shopthelnk.com.