Social shopping and deals-focused startup Shopcade, which launched out of the U.K. in November 2011, has raised £2.5 million (circa $4 million) in additional seed funding to accelerate its growth on mobile. Investors in the funding round include Pascal Cagni, formerly head of Apple’s European business from 2000 to 2012, and Michel Combes, CEO of telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent and ex-CEO of Vodafone Europe.
First order of business for Shopcade’s mobile push: expanding its app portfolio. Shopcade doesn’t currently have an Android app — but will be launching one next month, along with a refreshed-for-iOS-7 iOS app. It also has tablet apps in the works.
Shopcade’s ecommerce platform hosts products from more than 16,000 retailers and over 150,000 brands — with a focus on fashion, clothes and accessories but also incorporating other product categories such as books, media and electronics.
Its primary target is young females but it isn’t excluding men either…
The current Shopcade app lets users keep tabs on items they want to buy, informing them when something on their list goes on sale. It also pushes out personalised recommendations — powered by a combination of social data provided by each user and traditional ecommerce data such as page visits and purchase data – and lets users follow each other to style stalk trendsetters (aka other users whose style they dig). Users can add items to their Shopcade list from any website, not just the items Shopcade hosts.
Last year the startup was focused on adding more game mechanics to its offering to ramp up user engagement — by, for instance, generating the Trendsetter score for each user to rank themselves against their peers. It also introduced a system of perks to reward its most influential shoppers.
This year it’s been focused on expanding its deals segment, introducing deals that are specifically tied to items users have added to their wish lists. Another focus has been on outreach: in June it launched a widget targeting fashion bloggers and publishers, allowing them to embed a showcase of product picks — or auto-populated products related to page contents — in a grid or carousel.
It’s also pushed into celebrity tie-ups, by allowing its users to have the chance to style a celebrity look under its ‘Stylist for a Day’ campaign.
Going forward, Shopcade evidently sees big data as its bread and butter, based on the intel it’s continually gathering about fashion-focused shoppers’ likes (and by implication dislikes) — and then selling that ‘trend spotting’ business intelligence back to large retailers so they can decide what to stock on their shelves.
Shopcade’s expansion into widgets helps with that, allowing it to cosy up to other fashion-focused communities. Mobile is another key data point to this big data play, furnishing Shopcade with more up-to-the-minute data on what its users are after.
As an example of the kind of trends it’s apparently able to call, Evan Adelman, Shopcade CTO, said funny pet costumes started to trend on the platform ahead of Halloween — and crucially ahead of marketing spending for Halloween — adding that the category is now highlighted on Amazon.com.
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Pascal Cagni added: “By identifying the game-changing opportunities in mobile commerce, Shopcade is set to become the leading mobile shopping platform targeting fashionable young females audience.”
Shopcade has not disclosed how much seed funding it raised prior to this top-up round but previous angel investors include Daniel Bernard, former CEO of European retailer Carrefour; Ian Livingston, co-founder of Eidos Games; and Lord John Birt, former director general of the BBC.