You’d be forgiven for thinking that the window has closed on the flash sales concept, but apparently not. Casabu, the UK startup that targets mums with time-limited sales of clothing, toys, nursery equipment and maternity wear, has raised a £900k (~$1.4m) Series A round led by Ingenious Ventures, the private equity division of investment and advisory group Ingenious, with participation from existing investor Horatio Investments.
Competing with U.S.-headquartered and Andreessen Horowitz-backed Zulily in the UK, and also similar to Totsy (which has yet to launch this side of the pond), Casabu follows the familiar flash sales playbook. Targeting so-called “digital mums”, time-limited offers of up to 90% are sent out to its members for products for mums, babies, toddlers, and “growing’ kids, in a way that is designed to create a sense of scarcity and “buzz” around a brand. Furthermore, the only way to access the offers (or even browse them) is to become a member of the site.
For suppliers, Casabu sells itself on being able to help them reach a large and highly targeted customer base, and a way to shift stock, promote new lines and raise a brand’s profile.
Casabu says the new funding will be used to help with customer acquisition, as it aims to reach a million members by the end of the year. In addition, it plans to further develop its product and technology, including adding more curation, personalisation and social shopping features.
The startup was founded in late 2011 by Rachel Oxburgh and John Heseltine. Oxburgh has a digital agency background, previously founder of The Storm. Heseltine is described as a successful retail entrepreneur. Casabu’s management team includes Creative Director Matt Rowe (The Storm and LBi), Head of Buying Leslie-Ann Phillips (Mothercare and House of Fraser) and Julie Fawcett (former Head of Marketing at Achica).
Prior to today’s new round of funding, Casabu had raised £240k (~$357k), of which Horatio invested £100k (~$149k), bringing the startup’s total funding to £1.14m.