Freshplum, an analytics startup for online retailers that was founded by a former Facebook product manager, is going after small to medium businesses with an easy way for anyone to add a shopping cart to their site.
Helium is based off a product that another company in the Y Combinator network, payments startup Stripe, launched a few weeks ago. Stripe recently launched a product called Connect that makes it easy for any business to enable its customers to perform direct transactions without having to wait weeks for approval by a payments processor.
Freshplum’s founder Sam Odio says that while the developer community appreciates Stripe for its simple API, it’s not really that easy to use for non-technical business owners.
“Stripe is a great product. We’re big fans of the company. The only problem is that for a small business, it’s actually pretty difficult to integrate,” he said. “You need to have programming experience. You need to set up a back-end to store the order data, and you need to set up a shopping cart front-end and pass that order information to Stripe. So Helium is essentially a front-end for Stripe.”
While Stripe could go ahead and build a comparable product for small- to medium-sized businesses, Odio says that hopefully Freshplum will be moving fast enough that by the time they do, his offering will have sophisticated retail analytics to offer customers. Freshplum’s core business is in analytics that help retailers optimize on pricing, so that they don’t charge too much or too little for their products.
They already have a product in beta for the very biggest online retailers that’s generating revenue. Helium is for the lower-end of the market. Odio says this group might include a blogger looking to sell content, or musicians that are selling unreleased tracks.
Freshplum will take a 2 percent share of revenue on top of Stripe’s 2.9 percent and 30 cents per transaction. He says that makes it roughly equal to Gumroad’s 5 percent plus 25 cents per transaction.
The company has raised $1.4 million in funding from investors including Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, NEA, Y Combinator, former Gmail product manager Gabor Cselle, CRV’s George Zachary, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, Greylock Partners and Greylock’s Alison Rosenthal.
Odio previously co-founded Divvyshot, which he sold to Facebook. He served as product manager on photos before he left to start Freshplum, which he said was inspired by his undergraduate work in accounting and finance. He says that retailers often have a hard time understanding how to offer the very best price for their products. They can’t A/B test different prices for the same item, because that’s not fair and logistically difficult to facilitate. So what Freshplum does is observe consumer behavior and change a site’s design to get them to convert and make a purchase. (Odio wouldn’t specify how though, since that product is still in testing.)
Here’s more on how the product works:
When a user comes to your site, there will be a sidebar that pops in from the right-hand side where they can enter in their payments information and immediately buy whatever it is that you’re selling.