Case Study

Transforming a Heritage Hobby for a New Age; Our Investment in Loupe

Kirsten Green, Partner

June 2021

2 min read

Collectibles are at once novel and nostalgic. One part investment and one part excitement, they blend a consumer’s passion—for art, cars, wine, dolls, and the like—with potential for appreciation over time. Sometimes, collectables make the old new again for the next generation of enthusiasts; other times, they are a celebration of our hobbies with childlike joy, translating our love into a single emblematic purchase to add to a carefully curated set. (In fact, the #1 motivating factor for a collector’s purchase? Joy, plain and simple.) 

There are few more celebrated collectibles than sports cards, and we’re excited to participate in this timeless trade with audiences new and old through our investment in livestream e-commerce destination Loupe

The buzz around sports trading cards is reaching new heights in 2021, with sales numbers to match. Just a few months ago in January, a baseball card of legendary slugger Mickey Mantle sold for an eye-popping $5.2 million, making it the most expensive sports card of all time. Just a month later in February, a signed rookie card of the Dallas Mavericks’ Luca Doncic sold for $4.6 million, the most money ever paid for a basketball card. Earlier this year, a Goldin Auctions event featuring sports cards of Michael Jordan, Patrick Mahomes, and Anthony Davis generated over $33 million in total sales. And last year, during the coronavirus pandemic, the sports cards market on ebay spiked by 142%, with the company reporting selling roughly four million cards than the year before. 

As the trading card game is both evolving and heating up, Loupe is growing to meet consumer demand for better services catering to collectors. As a kid or teenager, many will remember swapping sports cards among friends; though the camaraderie remains within Loupe’s community of sports fans, the livestream e-commerce platform has reinvented the collecting process for a digital world with knowledgeable sellers bringing the consumer instant access to expansive inventory and new products.

With ebay as a primary competitor, the sports card industry was ripe for innovation. Founder and CEO Eric Doty and his team are enthusiasts to the core, with a deep understanding of their customer, strong product capabilities, and great sense of the market’s direction by elevating the user experience beyond purchasing. Eric blew us away with his immersive vision for Loupe as a true destination reaching well beyond transactions, fostering social engagement and offering entertainment. Launched just eight months ago in October 2020, Loupe has proven its on the right track; the platform has seen accelerating month over month growth with underlying drivers suggesting rabid fans.

While it’s most certainly a great time to be a consumer due to the abundance of purchasing options available today, we at Forerunner believe the next wave of commerce will revolve around the seller, powered by the personal relationships driving transactions between consumers and creators. In this way, Loupe has it all: access to inventory, a community-powered platform allowing fellow collectors to connect, and talented sellers delivering high-quality livestream content that educates and entertains the consumer. Livestream e-commerce has already caught our attention in other categories, including fashion with our investment in ShopShops. An estimated $170 billion industry in China, livestream shopping is just beginning to emerge here in the U.S. with new startups and platforms.  

Not only do we believe Loupe will become the primary destination for sports card purchases, but we also see potential for a platform that transcends trading cards to bring a wide-ranging set of collectibles to new digital audiences. Whether you want to check out the latest product drops, learn more about sports card trading, or engage in a little modern nostalgia, give Loupe a download to see why we’re so excited. 

Download Loupe in the Apple App Store. To learn more, visit loupetheapp.com.  

Unique people. Unique approaches.

We’re a diverse team of visionaries and veterans who looked at the VC industry and said: “We can do more.” Together, we’re redefining what VC can be — for consumers who deserve better.

We’re a diverse team of visionaries and veterans who looked at the VC industry and said: “We can do more.” Together, we’re redefining what VC can be — for consumers who deserve better.