As part of Euromonitor International’s interview series, I was pleased to speak with Vidyuth Srinivasan, Co-founder and CEO of Entrupy, Inc. Entrupy is the owner of proprietary software and hardware that allow for instant authentication of luxury handbags. In this interview, we discussed the background of Entrupy, the relevance of authentication services in the Luxury resale market, as well as the opportunities and challenges for this market.
Luxury resale market helped by authentication
Who have been the primary buyers of Entrupy’s services?
95% of our clients purchasing the authentication service are in the secondhand market. Anywhere from people selling luxury handbags on Facebook and Instagram to eBay. Pawnshops, too, have been buyers of our services. Anybody who buys and sells luxury handbags has a vested interest in an authentication service like ours.
Is Entrupy planning on expanding its scope of products and brands covered given the heavy resources and time required for the machine learning involved?
Yes, we plan on expanding in number of brands covered as well as the types of products that Entrupy’s service is able to authenticate. In regard to adjacent product types like sneakers, watches, and jewellery we are looking to expand our service offerings very soon. Outside of luxury goods for the medium to long term, products like industrial goods, consumer electronics, children’s toys, and even pharmaceuticals could work with Entrupy’s machine learning. The database system we created is scalable for new types of products to authenticate.
Considering the whole market, what existing business models do you think yours has impacted?
The companies with the biggest degree of effect are smaller sellers in the secondary market. Independent third-party authentication gives them the most credibility in the more susceptible markets in which they operate.
There are at least one or two trillion plus items on the market, more specifically sold within retail in the last 10 years. There’s probably more like $4 trillion plus worth of products in peoples’ closets or in the secondary market now. The luxury goods market is constantly growing and is largely recession proof. However, there now exists more incentive for people to buy used items because simply people want to own items or join luxury brands. People are caring less about having their luxury goods be brand new.
Can you speak on the opportunities in the market for your services?
As far as opportunities, along with the trustworthiness we provide, pricing is something that would be a big opportunity. Informing consumers what something is worth would add a lot of value to our product. Sellers always expect more than the market has to offer for its products, and Entrupy or anyone in our space could add a lot of value there.
Counterfeits will inevitably happen, but how can you regulate it? In the luxury space, why are some of these brands only now waking up to it?
I will put my money towards Facebook groups moving forward. There are more trust signals than other marketplaces – you’re essentially buying from friends of friends. If there’s more trustworthiness because of a closed group, counterfeiting will be less of a problem.
How about the challenges?
From a challenges perspective, we are like a private detective. No company wants to tell people that they work with us.
Outside, it’s impossible to size the market because we are dealing with a gray market problem.
Also, we have found it a little hard to explain AI or machine learning to someone who still uses Windows 95, but people are definitely warming up and understanding more than they used to. People moving into 21st century has been hard, but not as hard as people admitting there is a problem. Counterfeits are becoming much better and counterfeiters are constantly learning how to improve.