Tampa startup Wedzee prepares for soft launch • St Pete Catalyst

Tampa startup Wedzee prepares for soft launch • St Pete Catalyst

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Tampa-based Wedzee, a one-stop platform offering new and used items for brides and weddings, is preparing its soft launch this summer.

Created by entrepreneurs Jennifer and Michael Burns, Wedzee is a startup company that has recently joined Embarc Collective, the Jeff Vinik-backed innovation hub, and is pushing its plans forward despite headwinds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Wedzee marketing ad. Photo by: Courtesy of Wedzee

Prior to the pandemic, there were 2.5 million weddings each year in the United States alone, and the average bride spends 19 percent of her wedding budget on items, creating a total addressable market of $15 billion, according to Jennifer Burns.

Although the pandemic had a detrimental impact on the wedding industry, as many couples were forced to postpone or cancel their wedding, it didn’t halt the work Wedzee was undertaking and the company’s cash flow.

“We’ve been seeing more paid ads and some sponsorships in the wedding industry and that response has been amazing,” Wedzee Senior Vice President Michael Burns told the St. Pete Catalyst. “The weddings slowed down, but they kept happening. It allowed us to hit pause and work closely with our customers, sellers, users and do a lot more testing.”

Read more about how the company started 

Wedzee’s mobile homepage. Photo by: Courtesy of Wedzee

The company joined Embarc in March 2019 with an open-floor membership. Wedzee was able to tap into Embarc’s virtual resources while working remotely as the space at Embarc was not physically open. The resources and support Embarc provided helped the company navigate operations through the pandemic.

Today the company is in the midst of seed funding.

Wedzee is one of three that will be pitching its product to investors during the Upsurge: Inside the Investor’s Mind virtual event Wednesday.

In addition to raising funds, Burns said they are planning to hire three to four new employees. Currently, the company has three employees, including the two founders, two part-time interns and a designer.

Wedzee is one of 13 women-owned companies in the inaugural TechWomen Rising cohort.

Before the launch of Wedzee in 2019, Jennifer Burns launched Kadlee, an e-commerce site, which was acquired by India-based Empirical Partners in 2018.

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