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Forerunner Ventures’ newest bet is Curated, a marketplace that matches pros with people buying high-ticket items

If you’ve ever tried buying a bike online, or ski equipment, or any number of expensive goods where it would be useful to know a lot more than you do, you might check out Curated, a two-year-old San Francisco-based startup that wants to help busy shoppers who know generally what they want but don’t necessarily have time to visit a specialty store to learn more.

Curated works by matching bewildered shoppers with people who are passionate and knowledgeable and “expert” in their fields.

How the economics work: Curated strikes deals with manufacturers — say makers of snowboard equipment or mountain bikes — that sell Curated their goods at wholesale prices.

(Curated suggests tips of 5%, 7.5%, or 10%, though Vivas says they are sometimes given much more than that by shoppers who are thankful for their time and effort, especially when their interactions end up leading them to products that cost less than they might have paid otherwise.)

Though everyone tosses around AI as a competitive advantage, but Curated seemingly has a genuine competitive advantage on this front, owing to the background of Vivas, who sold to LinkedIn an earlier company that used AI to automate the recruiting process.

(In fact, it’s where he met some of the 32 people who now work at Curated.)

Curated will also need to strike enough deals with goods manufacturers to make the platform compelling for shoppers, and to ensure that the level of the advice that’s provided to those consumers is, and remains, high.

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