When we last left Baggg.it, the founders Eliyah Finkelstein, Jonathan Cook, and Michael Cook were busy building a shopping extension, a Baggg if you will, that allowed you to comparison shop between sites and products. They were close to completion but they soon realized that sites with three Gs in the name had gone out with the BeeGeeGeeGees.
The service essentially does the same thing as Baggg.it – you dump items into a persistent shopping bag – but the branding is completely rethought and the technology is far smoother. Most interesting, however, is that the entire team is working out of a small town in Iowa, far from the glitz, glamor, and fancy wines of the Valley.
“We all grew up in Fairfield, Iowa, went to the same school, and have been friends since early childhood. We started working on various programming projects together in our teens and have been working as consultants since around 18 years old up until about 3 years ago when we started our own company,” said Finkelstein. I first met this trio in Chicago where they were concerned about funding. Since then they’ve received $60,000 angel investment and a $100,000 Series A.
The programmers see their largest competitor as Google Shopping but unlike other sites like Fancy, Wanelo, and media sites like Pinterest, they have created a browser extension that sits on top of major shopping sites and creates a universal shopping card. “Agora is a productivity tool for shoppers in the same way that Microsoft Word is a productivity tool for writers. We’re not relying on building a social platform to create value, but rather our value comes from creating a set of tools that makes shopping online faster, easier, and more enjoyable for each individual user,” said Finkelstein.
You use it by dragging products off of, say, an Amazon page and onto a thin “belt” along the bottom of the screen. Agora stores the items for later perusal and offers you a central checkout.
“The current iteration of our service, Agora, attempts to help the user with all stages of the shopping process from beginning to end,” said Finkelstein. Given the interest in Baggg.it – horrible name and all – I’m looking forward to seeing where these lads are headed.