Our cohort member, Nan Zhang, discovered a goldmine.
This gifted child was born in China and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana with her family at the age of 6. She obtains a B.A in Neuroscience and an M.A in Biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University. She earned many scholastic accolades such as the The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship award for her health-related impact within underserved communities and is one of the top 50 scorers in the US for the PSAT exam. While she was a full-time student at JHU, Nan was also a former cast member (“Kati Farkas”) on the hit show Gossip Girl.
Her new endeavor, MyMarkit, is a fintech transaction marketplace that offers consumers a NEW way to shop. The disruptive platform introduces a one-of-a-kind internal ledger/sensor automation blockchain technology and a true digital currency – giving back to consumers their purchasing power with lossless transactions for the first time.
MyMarkit’s first-of-its-kind independent API fintech platform allows consumers to bypass markup in the retail and resale space by utilizing ledgers to back value directly to commodities. Unlike competitor marketplaces where inevitable fees are involved for margins and overhead, MyMarkit allows users to keep 100% of the sale transaction – simply charging a small membership fee to use the platform (starting at $9.99/monthly). Their technology allows for drastic reductions of overhead costs that otherwise would be passed on as costs to users (~70-80% gross margins). The company is starting in the resale luxury space for handbags/sneakers and will soon move into retail verticals with vendor systems.
“We invested in Nan because we believe she is one of the best founders that we have encountered and is super engaged in a space ripe for disruption.” says Brian Mac Mahon, CEO & founder of Expert DOJO.
Nan, you had a successful career in the medical field. Why did you decide to leave it to build your own FinTech startup within the Luxury Brand space?
“I started making sustainable and lossless frameworks during my graduate studies at Hopkins. I wanted to rework outdated non-profit frameworks to make it fully self-sustaining. I was disheartened by how much money non-profits raise in their annual reports, and how little of that actually makes it to those in need. When we were able to achieve a fully self-sustaining non-profit model with making rotational services, I turned my focus to consumer-facing components. That’s when I was like, “Why is there so much loss in how we purchase?”
Since my non-profit work stemmed from my background in ophthalmology/neuroscience, we started the iteration in the vision market. I thought, “I just bought really expensive Chanel sunglasses. And in a few months, I’m going to want a different pair. Why can’t I get truly what this is worth and put it towards another pair? Why is it that I can hardly get $20 for this pair on eBay, and I have to buy retail again at $300? Someone out there is about to buy this exact pair for that price.” And so, we launched Vision Interchange in stealth mode, and within the second week of Beta, we had customers come back and ask if we could do this with designer handbags. That’s when I realized that we were onto something much bigger than glasses or sunglasses – we had stumbled across a new way to purchase that is a lossless transaction!“
“With regards to the fashion space – back then, we were way ahead of the curve. The Real Real and GOAT/StockX were not around. No one would have ever imagined that the resale market would take off exponentially and game-change the entire landscape of retail shopping. And so, we iterated a duplicate in the sneaker market, which was a perfect product market fit.
For the first time, consumers can purchase and sell and keep 100% of the sale – we just charge a minimal $9.99 transaction fee. As we built out our platform/tech, we were able to use first-of-their-kind ledger systems in order to automate all of our overhead costs. This allows us to capture the full value of commodities and to pass on all of those savings to consumers.
Our gross margins are in the 70-80% range at scale. In creating what we’ve done in this fintech space, we realized that we opened Pandora’s Box in creating a true digital currency backed directly by commodities. And from there, we’re launching in the resale luxury space to go up against TRR and GOAT/StockX. We will move very quickly into retail verticals with vendors, so we can grow to a marketplace serving consumers with our fintech transaction system.”
When Nan looked further into the current transaction system, she found out that the customer covers all the accumulated expanses resulting in 30% – 70% LOSS.
The Bottom line is – the customer loses money & value in the current commerce purchase system.
Big Problem = Big Market: Resale marketplaces have shown substantial upward trends for both pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 climates. While Resale growth for 2020-2021 will increase by 69%, Retail will drop by 15%.
Resale grows 25x faster than Retail. The secondhand market is set to hit $64B in the next 5 years.
As an extremely-driven woman, Nan decided to solve this huge problem by allowing customers resale and shop directly without losing value.
Nan explains that this has been Jesse Draper’s “personal passion project to create a marketplace like MyMarkit for the last 15 years.” Jesse’s father, Tim Draper, and her brother will also help MyMarking model their true digital currency as well as connect them to retail consumer luxury brands (like Rebecca Minkoff and Tory Burch) to start retail pipelines.
As mentioned, the company first targeted the vision market and launched a successful Beta platform built for scale under budget by 4x and in 6 months – 1 year sooner than anticipated. “Within the second week of Beta, we had customers come back and ask if we could do this with designer handbags. That’s when I realized that we were onto something much bigger than glasses or sunglasses – we had stumbled across a new way to purchase that is a lossless transaction.” says Nan.
Other Notable Achievements:
Prior to the Expert DOJO Accelerator program, MyMarkit also took part in the Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures / FastForward incubator program and was also in one of the U.S. top 10 startup accelerator programs, Capital Innovators, which only accepts 5 startups into their cohorts each year worldwide.
Other VCs are ready to join immediately for Seed round.
IP updates with top firm Sterne & Kessler with their global digital currency expert and process to patent in Asia has been initiated.
Partnership discussions with the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund to launch in Asia shortly after the U.S.
MyMarkit is raising $500,000 in a Seed round that will end in April and afterwards will start a very aggressive Series A ($5-8M) into the summer/fall.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more about MyMarkit.