Dan Gilbert's StockX completes investment round, to hire 1,000-plus

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Detroit-based StockX, a consumer marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of pricey sneakers, streetwear, handbags and watches, plans to hire more than 1,000 people in the next year after a $44 million round of funding. Most of those hires will be in Detroit.

Dan Gilbert, right, chairman and founder  of Quicken Loans  co-founder of StockX, and Josh Luber, co-founder of StockX,  at Detroit Homecoming  on Wednesday

CEO Josh Luber with co-founder Dan Gilbert made the announcement Wednesday at Crain's Detroit Homecoming gala in Little Caesars Arena. The fundraising round, led by Google Ventures and Battery Ventures, was one of the largest for a Detroit startup.

"Having Dan as a co-founder is a unique situation," Luber told The Detroit News before the gala. "Because of that, we never really thought we were going to take outside funding. We've been fortunate and humbled that pretty much every big CEO and investor in the country has reached out. Of course, I'm going to take the call."

StockX operates much like eBay, but as a middleman it authenticates goods in its warehouses before shipping them to buyers. Prices of the products rise and fall by demand and supply just like the stock market. StockX takes between 9.5-14.5 percent of the sale price.

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Since launching under three years ago, StockX has grown to a team of more than 400 and sees more than $2 million in transactions daily, about $700 million a year and projected soon to be more than $1 billion.

The most recent funding round, which ended in May, also included investors DJ Steve Aoki, model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, streetwear designer Don C and Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff. They join the likes of rapper Eminem and actor Mark Wahlberg, who have previously supported the startup.

Luber said the money is going toward hiring new people, which StockX is already in the process of doing. In March, it had 30 employees. In a year, it hopes to have 1,500.

Luber said StockX is hiring in all positions from those who unload trucks and authenticate sneakers and handbags, to senior leadership. Of particular need is computer engineers and those who work in customer service. StockX has 200 jobs openings now at its Detroit headquarters and authentication centers in Detroit and Tempe, Arizona. It also soon is opening authentication centers in Newark, New Jersey, and in Europe.

The investment also will help with brand marketing. StockX launched two TV spots two months ago and has seen interest jump. Luber said it plans to continue using social media and television but also look into billboards and mass-transit advertising to build name recognition.

For now, the company does not have plans to open a brick-and-mortar location, though Luber said it is a possibility. Additionally, it is sticking with its four categories of goods but continues to expand its brand offerings.

"It feels like it's day-zero in terms of the opportunity to grow," Luber said. "We've got a long way to go here in the best way possible."