“Social shopping” is the latest buzzphrase to be on the lips of Europe’s startup scene and the newest entrant to the UK market is OSoYou.
Launching its public beta site aimed at women and supported by Britain’s top three retailers, OSoYou features the ability for users to “drag and drop” items they like to create the perfect wishlist for their “look”. Users will also be able to review, rate and comment on each other’s chosen items, building a viral, peer to peer referral environment within the site.
In theory this is a killer category. Apparently women like shopping and socialising, so a site which combines all that with social networking ought – in theory – to do well.
The new site features Marks & Spencer, the Arcadia Group and Mosaic as confirmed “confirmed partners”. Meanwhile Sweaty Betty, Kurt Geiger, Figleaves and Mywardrobe are among those who presumably are just trying it out first. The site launched its campaign as a fashion blog in January – osoblog.tv – to build interest and then launched its beta this past weekend.
Dawn Bebe, MD, told me they “launched first to get ahead of competitors”. Other sites – like Handbag.com – and traditional womens magazines are known to be looking hungrily at this social shopping business model.
The site is backed by Brightstation Venture, the venture vehicle for Uk entrepreneurs Dan Wagner and Sháá Wasmund. OSoYou is understood to have secured close to £2m in funding from Brightation Ventures, although the company has not announced a figure.
Bebe has spent 18 years in women’s media in the UK, and has been publisher of Red magazine, Elle and Elle decoration and went on to develop Grazia magazine two years ago. Having been head of digital at many of these titles she was brought in by Wasmund last year to launch OSoYou.
The team is 10 strong, but these consist largely of people from retail, marketing, advertising. The tech heavy lifting was done by BrightStation‘s technology arm.
Bebe says the site is aiming for quick revenues and profitability, and will keep its options open over an exit.
Although billing itself as the “UK’s First 2.0 social shopping website” OSoYou is not the first. Crowdstorm and Reevoo are close contenders for that prize.
It’s clearly early days – the site only has 248 people so far. But then they just launched…