A vegan marketplace with the aim of becoming the ‘Amazon for vegans’ has been launched by serial tech entrepreneurs Alon Hochberg and Amir Lavi.
Billion Vegans has raised pre-seed private investment of $300,000, and recently opened an equity crowdfunding round on WeFunder.
The company, which is based in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, was conceived by Hochberg, 56, who went “vegan in five minutes” in February 2017 after “accidentally” watching a video about the dog meat trade in China.
Hochberg, who is the company’s CEO, and his co-founder and CPO Lavi, have been involved in a number of tech-based ventures since the mid-1990s. Lavi is a former senior product manager at Fiverr and Sears, while Hochberg has founded five companies, two of which were acquired for several million dollars.
“I bought a pair of vegan shoes on Amazon and when they arrived, I found out the glue was made of pigs’ bones,” says Hochberg. “That was the day I decided to start Billion Vegans. All products on our site are vetted by our team to make sure they are actually vegan.”
In May this year, the company onboarded more than 4,500 products from 200 sellers, including high-profile plant-based brands such as Daiya, Silk, Earth Balance, Clif, Deva and Beauty Without Cruelty.
According to informal research carried out by Hochberg and his team, around 20% of the company’s potential customers indicated that their highest priority is to purchase items on a site where all products are vegan.
Hochberg has calculated that vegan online shopping in the US alone represents a potential market of $30 billion, based on annual e-commerce sales of about $500 billion, out of which 6% are vegan-related items. A 2017 report by research firm Global Data claimed that 6% of Americans now identify as vegan, up from 1% in 2014.
“These numbers show there’s a tremendous business opportunity,” says Hochberg.
Billion Vegans (https://billionvegans.com) currently ships to US customers only at the moment, with plans to roll out to Canada next year, followed by international expansion.