Rakuten takes majority stake in The Grommet, an online marketplace for ‘undiscovered products’

Rakuten takes majority stake in The Grommet, an online marketplace for ‘undiscovered products’ ...

Japanese e-commerce juggernaut Rakuten today announced its second investment in The Grommet, a freshly renamed online marketplace for cool products that haven’t hit the big-time yet.

The capital injection gives Rakuten a majority stake in the e-commerce and product discovery website.

Formerly named Daily Grommet, The Grommet digs up, curates and launches up-and-coming products with people looking to buy stuff before they’re on everyone else’s radar.

By giving consumers a place to engage with the stories and folks behind those new consumer products, it aims to create a vibrant marketplace where discovery of emerging products is key.

So far, The Grommet says it has launched 1,600 new products on behalf of small companies or individuals, and says its audience makes for 1 million daily impressions.

Rakuten initially invested in The Grommet in August 2012, when it led a Series B round of funding in the company.

This second investment is meant to provide The Grommet with access to a global base of undiscovered consumer products, and will also advance The Grommet expand its retail product placement program.

Another key aspect of the deal is Pinterest, in which Rakuten led a $100 million capital injection for last year. The Grommet says it has banked on Pinterest since 2011 to give its vibrant community a place to suggest new product ideas, and to drive traffic on Grommet product partner websites.

Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, says:

“The Grommet has proven to be a natural fit within the Rakuten family, as it empowers product creators and consumers in discovery of good products.

The continued success of The Grommet further proves what we at Rakuten firmly believe: that there is a tremendous demand for this kind of high quality curated experience in the online marketplace.”

According to CrunchBase data, The Grommet had raised just south of $6 million before Rakuten made its two investments.

Also read:

Rakuten announces $10M fund to promote “synergy” among startups in Asia

Rakuten-owned LinkShare acquires online ad tech firm mediaFORGE

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten buys Spanish video-on-demand firm Wuaki.tv

Image via Flickr / priceminister

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