A new mobile shopping service called NetPlenish is announcing today that it has closed a round of $1.9 million in seed funding from Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Gold Hill Capital, BHV Capital, TEEC Angel Fund, Ludlow Ventures and several angel investors, including its founders. The news was timed alongside the official launch of the company’s mobile application, available on both iPhone and Android. With the app, consumers are able to shop for everyday household items online which are sourced from trusted name merchants like Walmart, Target, Sears, K-Mart, Walgreens, Drugstore.com, Pets.com and Sephora.
The interesting thing about the mobile experience in NetPlenish is that’s it’s aggregating the content from multiple merchants into one single application. The benefit to this method is that NetPlenish can then use its fancy algorithms to figure out which merchant currently has the best price on the item in question, allowing you to save both time (no need to shop around) and, obviously, money. The algorithms thankfully take into account tax and shipping costs, too.
This is somewhat different from how a price comparison app may work – for example, ShopSavvy – which tells you what different things cost at different stores, both online and off. While those apps are generally used for big ticket items like HDTV’s or household appliances, NetPlenish is after the diapers and dog food market. When you tap an item to add it to the cart, the app serves up the best price, and even lets its merchants compete to offer you the best deal as you proceed to checkout.
You can build up your list using the integrated barcode scanning feature, so your everyday items are saved for regular use. Plus, the service offers its own take on the Amazon 1-Click checkout process with something it calls the “No Checkout Checkout.” Instead of filling out a screen each time with your info, the checkout process is a one-button process…after the initial setup, that is. Facebook sign-up is supported, too (although in my test version, it failed to work).
The app itself is well-designed, but lacks a few key features, including a search option, category browsing, support for multiple household lists (e.g. would be great to have one-click replenish for all baby items – diapers, pull-ups, wipes, diaper genie refills, etc. – all at once). The app could also take advantage of those new credit card scanning technologies from Jumio or Card.io, which would speed up the setup process.
This wouldn’t be the first time a tech company has attempted to serve the everyday household goods market, however. Amazon.com has notably competed in this space beginning years ago with its Amazon Fresh service, which still exists but has never really been able to expand to a nationwide rollout. It also acquired Quidsi to tackle the diapers, drugstore items, pet supplies and toys verticals. And Quidsi’s Soap.com added groceries to the list last fall. Given the Amazon relationship, it wouldn’t be surprising to see further integration of these properties with Amazon’s core products in the future. Other startups, like Alice.com, also serve this market.
So the unique part to what NetPlenish is doing is not just this idea of serving everyday shoppers’ needs through a household goods-targeted service, but the price comparison features, mobile-first focus, and simplified checkout process. Sounds promising, at least.
NetPlenish’s new apps are available for download here. The Ventura-based company is led by CEO Dave Compton, who is the former CEO of Opportunities in Options and the former EVP of TradingMarkets.com. CMO Scott de Rozic, meanwhile, was the founder and CEO of XMarkstheSpot, the first customer acquisition network for the web, which was acquired by Aptimus.