Fashion tech startup, SalesGossip, a platform that offers members exclusive access to fashion sales events and promotions, has raised its first angel round after becoming the winner of RBS EnterprisingU, a competition run by professional social network, LinkedIn, and the British bank, RBS. The round remains undisclosed, though TechCrunch has learned that it’s in the region of £300k (approx. $482k). It will be used to launch a newly designed version of the site, while dedicated mobile apps are also on the roadmap.
As part of the round, the UK startup has managed to pull in a decent calibre of angel investors, including Andrew Grahame (co-founder of Mr and Mrs Smith), Ballpark Ventures (the investment vehicle of veteran mobile expert Russell Buckley), Stephen Bullock, Dale Murray, and Colin Rushmere (MD of Global Reach Investments).
Founded in September 2011 by Zabetta Camilleri and Emilio Sanz, SalesGossip aims to solve a pain-point for fashion retailers — both offline and online — which is the difficulty they have with promoting and shifting discount stock and consumers’ lack of knowledge of when and where sales are taking place. It solves this problem by alerting members to such discounts through personalised emails based on their buying preferences and the SalesGossip site itself. The idea is to give users the very first access to discounts, offers and sales events.
“It’s that inside info that sets us apart from other fashion news sites. By becoming a member, you’ve got the inside track to your favourite stores’ sales and offers”, says co-founder and CEO Zabetta Camilleri.
Members get to set their fashion preferences so that those alerts become more targeted. So for example, if a user is obsessed by shoes, they can choose to receive updates when there’s a new shoe sale on. Likewise, if they are particularly loyal to the store Topshop they can personalise their alerts to Topshop and related sales. The same applies to fashion brands.
“The personalisation is totally down to the user, you can get as much or as little and as broad or as narrow results as you want”, says Camilleri.
We get the idea.
Right now, although 20% of traffic is mobile, SalesGossip is lacking a dedicated iOS or Android app, and it would seem that it’s currently underplaying its location-based and real-time potential. Sure, email alerts work well, and the site’s data set is location-aware — you can see where sales are taking place near you on a Google map — but this could be made a lot more spontaneous if notifications were pushed to a user’s smartphone, utilising GPS. However, you don’t need the inside track to guess that this type of functionality is in the pipeline. And, of course, now the company has money in the bank to achieve it.
SalesGossip first launched in London and has since expanded to other major cities in the UK including Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham. But in the future, it may go further afield.
“We’ll expand to more cities in the UK as we grow, and then we do intend to expand overseas as we get lots of requests for this, the market is huge worldwide and we’re excited to be looking at our options in the short term for a more global presence”, says co-founder and CTO Emilio Sanz.
Broadly speaking, SalesGossip’s competitors would seem to fall into two camps. Firstly, there’s flash sales sites, such as Cocosa et. al. which offer bulk discounted stock for sale online. Secondly, there’s some overlap with fashion blogs and news sites. In fact, SalesGossip places quite a lot of emphasis on editorial, something that it thinks, when mixed in with sales alerts, gives it the edge.
‘We have the huge benefit of having a fashion editor in house who produces regular fashion editorial commentary. This enables us to incorporate a really current, on trend feed of fashion content alongside sales news”, says Camilleri.