The Hunt, a website designed to help shoppers find specific items to buy online, has raised $10 million from Khosla Ventures and Javelin Ventures. This brings The Hunt’s total funding to $15.5 million. As part of the funding, Khosla’s Ben Ling will join The Hunt’s board.
Past celebrity investors include Tyra Banks, Ashton Kutcher, and Guy Oseary (Madonna’s manager).
The Hunt provides a community-driven shopping experience that helps consumers find and purchase items inspired by photos on social networks. Since its launch in January, the site has allowed users to post “hunts,” or pictures of unidentified clothing items from Tumblr, Pinterest, or the like that they want to track down. Community members then jump in to either identify the exact product or to provide suggestions for similar ones.
Unlike sites that trade in inspirational photos — the Tumblrs, Pinterests, and Instagrams of the world — The Hunt’s aim is to serve those people who want to act on that inspiration. On member profiles, you can see how good members are at solving hunts, or what hunts they have started. Members can also follow other hunts for items, like hunts, or add a recommended product to go along with a hunted-for item.
The company says it now has 500,000 active users (MAU) and 100,000 daily active users (DAU) on mobile. The average user spends nine minutes per session on The Hunt, and more than 2 million Hunts are started and followed per week.
Part of the company’s growth, says CEO Tim Weingarten, is attributed to mobile. The service was already seeing mobile traction last year, but after the debut of The Hunt’s iPhone app, growth really picked up. In fact, much interaction has shifted towards mobile-only, he says.
In terms of revenue, The Hunt uses an affiliate model for purchasing products suggested by community members. The app also includes a tagging system that surfaces related tags for users, which helps with personalization. But there is definitely more The Hunt can do with customization, says Weingarten.