ShopPad Raises $500K To Instantly Turn Online Shops Into iPad-Friendly Websites

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ShopPad, an e-commerce platform that turns retailers’ desktop websites into tablet-optimized experiences, is today announcing $500,000 in seed funding for its software-as-a-service technology now used by more than 10,000 online merchants. Angels in the round include Mashery co-founder and CEO of MyBlogLog, Lookery and Lumatic, Scott RaferArik Keller (Director of Product at PayPal); Peter Horan (President of Answers.com); Allen Morgan (previously GP at Mayfield Fund, and Fab.com board member); Walt Doyle (previously GM PayPal Media); and others.

The company was founded around a year ago by Aaron Wadler, a long-time product guy and founder and CEO of Viddyou, acquired by Motionbox in 2009. Wadler says he got excited about the iPad’s potential to change computing a couple of years ago, around the same time he became an online shopper. He started imagining how those two passions would soon intersect, but despite rapid iPad adoption and tablet market share growth, he discovered that online retailers were lagging behind these major consumer trends.

“Big retailers weren’t doing anything exciting [on iPad],” he says. “A lot of them had broken sites, and it really seemed like a mess. It got me thinking – if the really big guys can’t get this figured out, it’s going to be a huge problem for everyone else down.”

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To help him build what’s now ShopPad, Wadler brought in co-founder and “Chief Creative Officer” Ryan O’Donnell, previously founder of VinoTrac. O’Donnell’s background involves an understanding of conversion rates from a UI/UX perspective – a necessary skill set for creating a better tablet shopping experience.

With ShopPad, the initial idea was to target the lower to middle online retail market with a solution sold through the Shopify and Magento app marketplaces. Retailers simply install the plug-in to begin immediately serving the tablet-optimized website.

“They don’t need to know any programming. They don’t need to enter in any code. It’s all a WYSIWYG interface,” explains Wadler. “We go in through the store’s API and we mirror and sync to our servers their categories, product and store information.” ShopPad then puts a line of JavaScript on the retailer’s website to detect and redirect tablet traffic to its servers instead.

In addition to changing the interface itself, ShopPad also handles under-the-hood things like automatically creating and serving Retina product images, connection adaptation, offline abilities, dealing with orientation changes, and more.

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If retailers want to change the default settings, they can choose to adjust the branding, add their logo, or bring in other content pages with things like store hours or return policies, for example. These various options are available in the company’s paid plans, starting at $6 per month. A $19 per month plan also offers priority customer service and support for retailers’ own domains.

Once live, consumers visiting the tablet websites can browse through inventory and add things to their carts using the ShopPad interface, but the final step – checkout – is yet to be tablet-optimized. Wadler says, however, that they’re working with Shopify on this, and are excited to get into this area in the future.

Now a team of four, the San Francisco Bay Area startup is working to bring its technology to smartphones and even in-store, allowing retailers with limited room or sales staff to offer tablet kiosks where customers can view additional inventory online, or just browse the website for themselves. ShopPad is also beginning to move up market, and has started working with a few undisclosed, but bigger-name, retailers.

Interested retailers can learn more here on ShopPad’s website.