Teardown | Wholee – Direct-from-Manufacturer Marketplace
Founded in 2020, Wholee has received over 6m downloads globally for its app-based marketplace connecting consumers with manufacturers.
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Founded in 2020, Wholee has quickly scaled up its zero-markup marketplace that connects consumers directly with over 100,000 manufacturers around the world. The platform offers high-quality products across a wide range of categories at comparatively low prices.
The company has remained relatively stealthy thus far with little known about the founders, employees, or its operations outside of a few limited press releases. However, despite this, the company’s app has been downloaded more than 6 million times as of March 2022 and has claimed over 100k members have been reported for its ‘Prime’ service.
The company announced its only public fundraise in December of 2021, a $69M round led by Qiming Venture Partners.
Business Overview & Products
Wholee offers a variety of products across categories such as Clothing & Apparel, Jewelry, Bags, Home & Living Products, Electronics, Beauty, Pets and more. The company services customers across the US, UK Canada, Australia, France, and Germany.
Wholee connects customers directly with manufacturers around the globe, allowing consumers to get quality products at wholesale prices. The platform offers attractive features like express delivery and 24/7 customer service.
Limited information is available about the company’s logistics operations (or lack thereof) but delivery times for orders range from 9-18 days in the US, to 6-14 days in the UK. Users receive compensation in case of delivery delay.
The platform offers a 360-degree actual product view feature which ensures that customers receive exactly what they see online. This saves both the customer and company from the hassle of returns and refunds. The company claims to carry out extensive quality control checks for every product before they are shipped to end customers.
Business Model & Pricing
Wholee offers a zero-markup pricing model where customers only pay for the production cost of products set by the manufacturer. The company offers a membership-service called Prime which allows members access to its full range of manufacturers, special offers, and priority packaging and delivery. Prime rates start from as little as £0.99 a month.
Wholee’s shipping fees differ from country to country. For instance, shipping fees in the United States are $2.99, whereas, in France, it’s 4.99€.
Wholee’s app was reported to have been downloaded over 6 million times globally in a press release by the company, with more than 250,000 installations in the first 2 months of 2022. The US was reported as the company’s fastest-growing market with sales growing by 40% in Q1 ‘22. However, the UK remained their largest market and sales grew by 30% in that time period.
Wholee Prime was reported to be close to reaching a milestone of 100,000 prime members in July 2021. The report claimed 49,000 members in the UK, 26,000 in the US, 5000 in Australia, 8000 in the EU, and 8000 in Canada.
There is relatively little known about the founders of Wholee and they do not have a presence on social media. CBInsights cites an Aaron Walker as co-founder while Crunchbase names Alex Walker.
History & Evolution
Relatively little is known about the company outside of a few press releases that the company has shared.
In 2020, Wholee Prime, a members only buy-direct shopping app was launched in the UK.
In 2021, after becoming a key retail player in the US, UK, and Australia, Wholee Prime announced its plan to expand its offerings to France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Where to Learn More
Ethical online retailer Wholee threatening Amazon, eBay and Wish dominance with 6 million downloads globally and targets for even greater growth (Yahoo Finance, March 2022)
Wholee Prime, Sees Global Growth Surge With Downloads at 4 Million and Rising (Craft Business, July 2021)
Appendices – Company Intel
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