Taggler, which pitches itself as a “reverse auction marketplace” for custom T-shirt printing, said Wednesday it closed a $500,000 angel investment. It’s a modest raise that represents a significant win for its incubator Startup Garage, a USC program for student and faculty entrepreneurs that launched last year.

The downtown Los Angeles startup was one of nine that presented after completing the 12-week curriculum. Each received $20,000 in exchange for 4 percent equity. A year later, half of that inaugural class has announced additional funding.

“That’s a pretty good freshman class,” said Taggler co-Chief Executive Josh Wei.

Taggler, an eight-person team of mostly recent USC alums, helps people looking for custom apparel orders by vetting local screen-printing companies. Customers submit their request through its site, and businesses reply with pricing quotes. Taggler also presents customer ratings, reviews and a business’ past jobs.

Currently the startup has a national network of 80 printers, a quarter of which are actively engaging with customers every day. Taggler keeps 15 percent of the sale. The rest goes to the printer. Wei said Taggler now processes roughly $40,000 in sales a month.

Wei, who ran his own screen printing shop in high school, said while Taggler is trying to streamline the $7 billion custom apparel industry, it’s also looking at a bigger picture. He sees the potential for Taggler’s model to be used for the general promotional goods industry. Swag bags full of golf balls, pens and key chains emblazoned with a company’s logo could be the next stage of Taggler’s business.

“A lot of our printers are already doing these exact same things,” he said. “That’s a pretty nice synergy that can we can take advantage of.”

The angel round was led by Louis Lucido, chief operating officer of DoubleLine Capital.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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