When we saw Monogram show off its iPad app at 500 Startups demo day, it was instantly one of our favorites of the bunch. Well, we’re not the only fans of the app, as the startup has raised $840,000 in seed funding led by Quest Venture Partners.
Monogram has created an app that is like your own personal shopper on the iPad, taking the pain out of searching for your favorite brands or discovering new clothing lines that you might not have heard of. It seeks to eliminate the fragmentation in the e-commerce market, by aggregating the best clothing lines and deals from across multiple fashion-centric e-commerce sites and delivering them to you in one slick user interface. That way, users will no longer have to search multiple sites to find the clothes they’re looking for.
Still in private beta, the app also includes a bit of editorial curation, to highlight hot looks or brands users might not know. According to Monogram CEO Leo Chen, this editorial touch is missing from most e-commerce sites. To enable it, the startup is partnering with influential fashion bloggers to provide their own curated favorites on the app. And it’s also got a bit of personalization, allowing users to designate which brands they’d like to see more of. In the future it plans to add even more personalization features — for instance, allowing users to filter by size or filter out brands they don’t want to see. (By the way, for more on Chen’s views on the future of e-commerce, check out this guest post he wrote for us a few months ago.)
Chen confirmed that the startup has raised $840,000 out of a $1 million seed round led by Quest Venture Partners. Other investors include Great Oaks VC, 500 Startups, Shanghai-based accelerator and seed fund Innovation Camp (iCamp), YinTai CEO Robin Liao, angel investors Christina Brodbeck and Jared Kopf, Rapportive CEO Rahul Vohra, and Decide.com founder Brian Ma. But Chen tells me that at least for now, the round is still open and the startup is trying to determine who else to include.
The startup was founded by a group of e-commerce and fashion experts. CEO Leo Chen was formerly a product manager at Amazon, focused on mobile software and order fulfillment, while CTO Josh Chen did e-commerce platform engineering at Newegg.com and China’s YinTai.com. Their director of content, Kristen Slowe, has more than 10 years of fashion merchandising experience at Fortune 500 retailers. While based in Mountain View, Calif., the startup is opening a development center in Shanghai, and now has a total of five employees.
And here’s a video with Monogram: