A new e-commerce marketplace positioning itself as “Amazon for vegans” has hit the scene in the United States and soon will be shipping groceries and more to Canadian consumers.
Founded by serial technology entrepreneurs Alon Hochberg and Amir Lavi, Los Angeles-based Billion Vegans already offers more than 4,500 products from 200 sellers. Onboarded in May, products include high-profile plant-based brands such as Daiya, Silk, Earth Balance, Clif, Deva and Beauty Without Cruelty.
According to Hochberg, vegan-centric e-commerce in the United States alone has a potential value of US$30 billion, based on overall annual e-commerce sales of about $500 billion, 6% of which comprises vegan-related products. And, research from Dalhousie University in Halifax has estimated that there are 2.3 million vegetarians and 850,000 vegans in Canada.
Trustworthy vegan products are in demand: About 20% of the company’s potential customers have stated that purchasing products on a site where all offerings are vegan is their top priority, according to research made by Hochberg and his team. But from Hochberg’s experience, not all sites and brands are so trustworthy. He claimed that after becoming a vegan, he purchased a pair of “vegan” shoes from Amazon, only to find out its glue was made from pig bones.
“That was the day I decided to start Billion Vegans,” he stated. “All products on our site are vetted by our team to make sure they are actually vegan.”
So far, Billion Vegans has raised $300,000 in pre-seed private investing, and also recently opened an equity crowdfunding round on WeFunder. CEO Hochberg and CPO Lavi both have been involved in a number of technology-based ventures since the mid-1990s.
A version of this article appeared at ProgressiveGrocer.com.