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.
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