Soldsie, The Service That Lets You Shop Via Facebook And Instagram Comments, Raises $4 Million

Comment

Soldsie, an e-commerce service enabling businesses to sell directly to their Facebook fans and Instagram followers through the comments section, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from First Round Capital, the company is announcing this morning. Others participating investors include SoftTechVC, Lerer Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Great Oaks Ventures, e.Ventures, 500 Startups and other individuals.

Angels in the round included Ken Landis, Richard Gernstein, Greg Kidd, Tom Kelly, Prosper Nwampka, Seth Ginns and Christine Herron.

The startup emerged at a time when the industry was questioning whether or not Facebook commerce, or “f-commerce,” as some had abbreviated it, was actually worthwhile. Soldsie, which first launched in May 2012, found that Facebook commerce could work, when it wasn’t just some other tab for users to click into, but could instead leverage the social activities already taking place across these retailers’, sellers’ and businesses’ Facebook profile pages.

Soldsie Comment Buying

On Facebook, sellers were sharing photos of their items for sale, which fans would then comment on, like and re-share. Soldsie then added another layer to that ongoing activity – allowing visitors to comment “SOLD” in order to make a purchase.

Consumers would only have to register one time with the Soldsie application, which allowed the business to access their personal data, including their email address. On the backend, Soldsie provides an interface for managing the invoicing process, with tools for tracking sales, invoices, inventory and more. Businesses simply email invoices to the customers who commented SOLD, and shoppers can then pay using PayPal or a credit card.

Last November, the company introduced a similar system for Instagram, allowing consumers to shop via the photos’ comments section by typing “sold” alongside their email address.

soldsie-instagram

After first debuting in spring 2012, the company grew to reach 75 businesses by that fall, totaling over $1 million in transactions. By summer 2013, those numbers had grown to over 1,000 merchants, and over $10 million in transactions. Today, Soldsie reports 1,500 sellers, and north of $25 million in transactions, or three times higher than the same time last year. The company generates revenue by taking a small cut of each transaction along with a monthly minimum starting at $150, but is still experimenting with pricing.

In addition, consumers who are commenting “sold” aren’t just impulse shopping then failing to pay. Notes Soldsie co-founder and CEO Chris Bennett, the company is now seeing a 70% conversion rate after shoppers write “sold” to claim an item, with 60% of checkouts taking place after 30 minutes – meaning people may be waiting to complete the purchase after they finish doing something else, like riding the bus home from work, for example. 70% of checkouts are also happening via mobile, he says.

With the new funding, which brings Soldsie’s total raise to date to $5.6 million, the company plans to scale the business, hire, and further build out the Soldsie platform, including expanding it to two more platforms by the end of 2014. The 13-person team will grow to 25 by year-end, with new positions added in product development, engineering, sales, and account management, the company says.

Bennett also mentions that Soldsie is now working with some “major retailers,” but says he’s not yet permitted to disclose these by name.

Soldsie competes more broadly with other startups attempting to leverage social media for e-commerce, including Chirpify and Instagram shopping site Hashbag, for example.

“We’re especially excited about this funding because we think it’s strong evidence of the product we’ve built, but also a strong vote of confidence in the rising wave of mainstream social commerce,” says Bennett.

More TechCrunch

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions