Wantster, a site founded earlier this year in Canada that lets users collect images of things they want from around the web and pin them on a central page — a kind of Canadian Fancy – has announced a round of funding: $4 million from Evanov Communications, a Canadian radio broadcasting company.
The Pinterestification of the web — that is, the influence of visually-led Pinterest on how others are organizing their content online — plays a strong role in Wanster’s aesthetic. In that, it’s a perfect complement to Evanov’s business, since radio is the opposite of being visually-led. In a news release announcing the funding, Wantster says that, in fact, highlights how it has used radio to promote and raise awareness of its service. “Founders Ky Joseph and Chris Edelman credit their site’s extremely high conversion rate of new member sign-ups to radio and the relationship it has with its listeners,” it says.
On the other hand, for a company whose main assets are in a traditional media business, putting funds into the next generation of how people communicate with each other is a smart move.
Rather than being a direct copy of sites like Pinterest and Fancy, Wantster focuses on creating wish lists of products to present to people to buy things for you, and for you to organize what you would like to buy for others. It links up with your social graph — contacts and calendars for important dates — to organize the wish lists intelligently.
Wantster says that since launching seven months ago, users have posted 500,000 products on its pages. It has not put out user numbers but claims that in seven months it’s picked up more users than Pinterest did in its first 10. That’s not a very strong claim, though: for starters, the market has become more receptive to sites like Wantster’s because of Pinterest (see: Pinterestification). And also: it’s well known that Pinterest was a late bloomer, with only 10,000 users nine months after launch.
In any case, Wantster is pushing ahead with its expansion, and the framework it has developed for posting items that you want to buy has a lot of legs in the wider area of social commerce, which is still in its early days.
The company has not said specifically what it plans to do with the funding, but one area might be further development in mobile. Mobile, being touch-friendly, has been a key part of Pinterest’s growth story. It was just last week that Wantster launched an iPhone app, so developing for further platforms might be one plan in the cards.