Need a gift idea for your teen this holiday season? How about a subscription to Loot Crate, a curated box of apparel and other swag aimed at geeks, gamers, and nerds alike? Sound odd? Maybe. But, while Loot Crate might seem on the surface to be too “niche”, think again. Boxing stuff up for geeks is huge business.
Founded in 2012 by Chris Davis and Matthew Arevalo, Loot Crate has amassed over 200,000 subscribers across 10 countries. In 2016, the company was ranked #1 on Inc's Fastest Growing Private Companies. Earlier this quarter, Loot Crate announced a partnership with Amazon that will see its box featured right on Amazon's subscription box store home page (yes, Amazon now has a dedicated store for subscription boxes).
Loot Crate targets super fans of entertainment franchises. The company partners with major studios, game companies, comics publishers, professional sports leagues and personalities in a shared curation of premium and exclusive consumer products in themed mystery boxes, delivered directly to subscribers' doorsteps.
Loot Crate has done an incredible job of not only curating boxes, but building an entire community around it all. The original version of the crate was a kind of “comic-con in a box,” containing four pop-culture related items valued at around $45. Boxes were, and still are to a large extent, centered around a theme, like “future,” “anti-hero,” and “origins.”
But, since its early roots, Loot Crate has expanded its offering. There’s a Loot Crate DX subscription for the truly dedicated nerds out there, with premium items worth at least $100. There’s an Anime box, featuring exclusive items from the best anime & manga series. There are also plenty of other options, including Loot Gaming a themed box gear from my favorite video games and a thing called Loot Fright, which features a bunch of horror collectibles and apparel. Strange yes, but plenty of value-added upside for passionate gamers and horror junkies.
The list of curated options also extends into other apparel subscriptions for socks, underwear, t-shirts, wearables, and random gear. Moreover, the company also has film and TV themed crates, built around shows like DeadPool and StarTrek.
And, Loot Crate has done well to carve out its place in the subscription economy. But its strength and prowess in the space goes beyond just boxing stuff up for nerds. As part of its capability to properly execute themed subscription boxes for loyal fans of things like Marvel and WWE, Loot Crate has also broadened its horizons by partnering with Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) to power Sports Crate - a bi-monthly subscription box of licensed team merchandise and collectibles targeted at sports fans. Although not all teams are available as of yet, the company plans to roll out the balance in the near future.
With the kind of constant variety this company is churning out year after year, there’s no competitor coming close to Loot Crate in the collectibles category in subscription – and that says something about the industry in general.
Box companies like Loot Crate that do well to carve out a specific niche, and then expand horizontally, will have the most runway with which to grow; attracting plenty of capital along the way - the guys have raised over $41 million to date.
Chris Davis, LootCrate’s CEO says that "Over the past 6 years, Loot Crate has grown and evolved from a single subscription to offering multiple subscriptions spanning the best of pop culture, sports and gaming, ….” He goes on to say that the company provides "a unique opportunity for fans to connect with their passions.” He’s right.