What started as a hobby is now a serious tool for those buying and selling sneakers. Today, Campless is announcing an investment by Detroit Venture Partners and the launch of a new product that will allow Campless users to build an online database of their sneaker collection and track the value overtime.
Nike released the Dunk SB Low Staple “NYC Pigeon” on March 1, 2005, with a retail price of $200. The same shoes are now selling for $5,000 on eBay, although, within the last 12 months, they fetched as much as $9,107. Campless.com has all the data.
Think of Campless like the Kelly Blue Book for sneakers. The site tracks the reselling of sneakers using data compiled by eBay’s public API.
As the name implies, the site is designed to enable sneaker fans to camp outside of Foot Locker less. Buying and reselling sneakers is an old obsession but it recently became a very lucrative one. Buyers will wait outside of retail stores for a chance to buy a limited edition sneaker at a reasonable price. While Nike might sell a set of sneakers for $200, a few months later, the same shoes could sell for double or triple that. This is where Campless comes in.
By analyzing and compiling eBay selling data, Campless gives buyers and sellers a clear picture of the resale market. It tracks and displays the average selling price and the volatility of the market.
The secondary sneaker market is growing rapidly. The company puts the global market at $6-$7 billion with $1.2 billion spent in the U.S. alone.
The company’s new tool, called Collections, lets users track the value of their shoes using tools and metrics previously only available for stocks and mutual funds.
Founder and CEO Josh Luber started the site in 2012 while working full-time as IBM data consultant, a job he maintained until just last May. The original goal was to build a price guide using real data. The project was bootstrapped and Luber used his own money to keep the servers on.
Luber tells me that over a hundred people reached out to him and volunteered their time to help run the site. Eventually he had 17 part-time volunteers filling in as engineers and designers. It was a labor of love, he explained.
Campless now has two revenue streams. First, the company is naturally subscribed to eBay’s affiliate program. Most of the product pages on Campless features a link to related eBay auctions. Second, the company sells the data it compiles to market researchers.
“We’re a data company,” Luber said. “We sell data.”
Luber explained that Campless’s methodology can be applied to other collectible verticals such as watches, handbags, women’s shoes, and comic books. Yet Luber aims to win at sneakers before expanding the company.
Luber quit his job at IBM in May and now works full-time at Campless, which just relocated to downtown Detroit. Why Detroit, I asked? Dan Gilbert, the outspoken founder of Quicken Loans and managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners, sold him on his vision of Detroit.
“With Campless, Josh has created a unique methodology and vision for using data to create products, communities and businesses. This presents unlimited possibilities, not only within the sneaker industry, but any business aware of the powerful role data plays in their industry,” said Gilbert in a released statement.
“This is exactly the type of high-quality, innovative company that further positions Detroit as a thriving tech hub, and Campless’s decision to set up shop in the city is just another example that the entire country has woken up to the opportunity in Detroit.”
The company is not disclosing the amount DVP invested in the company yet Luber was able to bring on eight full-time staffers and hire two contractors. Campless now operates out of One Campus Martius in downtown Detroit.