A.I. Startup Arbit Announces $1M Funding Round Led by Lightship Capital

October 17, 2023

The multi-firm investment will support the start-up's mission to bring price transparency and efficiency to the expansive secondary sneaker market for resellers and collectors

Venita Cooper: Photo by Jordan McNear

TULSA, Okla. – October 10, 2023 – Arbit, an A.I. powered sneaker resale pricing startup based in Tulsa, today announced that it has raised $1 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Lightship Capital with additional funding from Atento Capital. Arbit is the first pricing algorithm application to use an unbiased predictive valuation tool for sneakers, utilizing data analytics and machine learning to determine the true fair market value  -- creating a transparent marketplace empowering sellers and collectors. Arbit will use the funding to help scale operations and improve the application which is being tested in beta-form. Arbit is looking for opportunities to raise an additional $500K through an SPV and/or an additional LP.

“My painful experiences with price uncertainty in the sneaker market as both a sneaker business owner and collector inspired me to launch Arbit,” says Venita Cooper, Founder of Arbit. “Arbit’s algorithm will change the landscape of resell markets like sneakers by empowering smarter transactions and a more efficient marketplace. Our users are saving money and making money.”

Amid the rapidly growing sneaker-resale market and extreme pricing discrepancies, Arbit aims to support the decision-making process for both collectors and resellers by aggregating the data research that most impacts pricing, enabling users to search for sneakers with the most accurate fair-market and predicted value.

"Arbit is one of the most exciting Financial Tech investments I've seen in a long time. There are endless markets in the world, and Arbit has the chance to bring much needed transparency to value, transactions, and ultimately trading in those markets. Exciting times,” says Brian Brackeen, General Partner at Lightship Capital.

“We are thrilled to stand behind Tulsa’s own Arbit and its founder, Venita Cooper, who is poised to disrupt the sneaker resale market that is expected to reach $30 billion by 2030,” says Adele Weaver, Managing Partner, Pre Seed at Atento Capital. “Atento’s investment underscores our mission to support tech entrepreneurs that traditional VCs often overlook. As a Black female founder based here in the Heartland, Venita embodies the unique and diverse talent rising up in Tulsa and fueling the city’s vibrant startup ecosystem.”

With less than 1% of funding going to Black female entrepreneurs each year, Venita Cooper joins a short list of Black female founders who have raised more than $1 million in venture capital. Venita began her founder journey by participating in Build in Tulsa’s ACT House Accelerator and the Lightship Bootcamp and Accelerator -- building upon her knowledge of the sneaker industry. A staple of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, Venita’s brick-and-mortar store, Silhouette has been a popular business for “sneakerheads,” gaining interest from shoppers nationwide.  

This investment builds upon Atento Capital’s $100M core fund launched in February 2023, which is focused on supporting the next generation of tech founders and helping to enable a more inclusive, diverse economy within Tulsa. With 75 percent of venture capital funding going towards California, New York and Massachusetts each year, Atento Capital is paving the way to deploy financial support to the overlooked, underrepresented diverse entrepreneurs, building awareness and opportunities to the strong talent outside of the coasts.  

For more information, read about Arbit here.

About Arbit

Arbit is an AI platform that empowers smarter transactions in the sneaker resell market. Arbit aggregates supply and demand indicators like historical sales and uses an algorithm to determine current fair market value and forecast future prices.

About Lightship Capital

Lightship Capital invests in remarkable talent across demographics and geographies typically underfunded by majority investment firms. By finding, funding, and developing these entrepreneurs and their high growth companies, Lightship diversifies the innovation economy and  catalyzes emerging ecosystems.

About Atento Capital

Atento Capital is a Tulsa-based venture capital firm focused on unlocking unsung potential in early-stage founders through providing access to venture capital, human capital and expanded professional networks. Atento Capital has created pathways to upward mobility and helped dozens of companies and entrepreneurs thrive in Tulsa’s tech ecosystem by democratizing access to venture capital for traditionally underinvested groups of people.

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