By Abigail Bassett, Sunstone Staff Writer
Kingson Tse is an entrepreneur with a penchant for fashion. He started his first business, after moving from Hong Kong to the U.S. with his family, in high school when he and his friends began buying and selling sneakers.
That passion points directly to Tse’s current endeavor, Exchvnge. Tse is taking the company through the Long Beach Accelerator as part of its Cohort 6.
Early on, he parlayed his love of fashion into a successful watch brand (MSTR) that he started with another friend, learning about the ins and outs of designing, manufacturing, and leveraging e-commerce to create a successful business.
“I went to school for e-commerce,” Tse said.
Tse and a series of partners started out as wholesalers, selling watches and other fashion accessories to retail brands, including Footlocker, Fred Segal and Urban Outfitters. Over a decade of wholesaling, Tse said, the gross sales averaged $1 million a year, according to company records.
The e-commerce component stayed stuck in Tse’s head, though. He put together a team to create a smart phone app featuring live video shopping. The team includes Alex Au-Ueung, chief technology officer; Hailee Kaimimoku, chief operating officer; Eff Ulloa, chief brand officer; Evan Manning, chief experience officer; and Henry Kaimimoku, chief innovation officer.
Bringing It Together
In 2019, Exchvnge launched as a live shopping marketplace that allows creators to sell wares directly to consumers through live video events.
“Crafted by and for creators, our platform prioritizes community, providing a user-friendly space for both hosts and sellers to go live, engage, buy, and sell,” Tse said. “We create tools to empower influencer hosts, streamlining the selling process for fashion resellers.”
Exchvnge’s “secret sauce” is the use of internet influencers as hosts for events on the app.
“We create tools to empower influencer hosts, streamlining the selling process for fashion resellers,” Tse said. “Sellers can easily book hosts and collaborate on live sessions.”
Tse said that Google Analytic results show Exchvnge already has 5,000 users from organic downloads, and his team has manually verified more than 1,000 of those users. Currently, vintage T-shirts are a hot item, he added.
“Our users keep returning to the app, not just to purchase items, but also to enjoy watching live auctions and interact with the hosts,” Tse said.
Exchvnge works to assist sellers in crafting their live sale strategies with the influencer hosts. Revenue is generated through commissions and subscription fees from both sellers and shoppers, Tse said.
Exchvnge is a part of the Long Beach Accelerator (LBA), supported by Sunstone Management. Tse says that it has been a significant factor in Exchvnge’s growth.
“The LBA is totally different,” he said. “I love the community element of it. I want to be part of a community of like-minded people that are startups because we’re truly helping our community in the fashion world and the content creator world. Sunstone basically powers the LBA.”
Tse already has applied for a $35,000 grant for Amazon Web Services sponsored by Sunstone – a benefit only available to startups in the accelerator program.
The prospects for the future are bright, he adds, especially as creators with large followings look for new ways to pocket more of their earnings as the social media landscape continues to evolve.
To find out how to download the app or become a seller there, go to exchvnge.co.
Note: We refer to early-stage technology entrepreneurs as Founders. Information provided here is to inform about the types of small business start-ups that have been selected for participation in certain programs in which Sunstone participates. Information provided here is aspirational and there is no assurance of success. Early-stage investing comes with an inherently high degree of risk. The information provided is neither an offer to sell or an inducement to offer to buy interests in any Sunstone sponsored fund that may have invested in the Founder.
About Long Beach Accelerator
The Long Beach Accelerator provides early-stage tech startups with the resources and runway they need to flourish. The LBA has a current application cycle open for Cohort 7. The LBA is a public-private partnership between the city of Long Beach, Sunstone Management, and CSULB and has been named one of Southern California’s top tech accelerators by dot.LA.
About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate, and fixed income funds to qualified and accredited investors. The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. Ranked 18th in the United States on the list of most active venture capital firms by PitchBook.
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