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Former Obama Campaign, Threadless CTO Eyes Mobile Commerce With New Startup Modest

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Harper Reed, who led Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 as its CTO, is back in the startup game.

He’s focusing on mobile commerce by making it easy for smaller retailers to build free mobile apps or create beautiful shopping experiences on smartphones. Backed by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Greylock Partners, 500 Startups and Base Ventures, the new startup is named Modest. The company has several engineers from the Obama re-election campaign along with Reed and CTO Dylan Richard, who have worked at Threadless and Create & Barrel.

“My entire career has been based around commerce,” Reed said. “The Obama campaign was famous for raising boatloads of money online. My question is how do you make conversions better through mobile and e-mail.”

Basically, Modest helps small businesses create quickly create stores in the form of mobile apps. There’s one-tap buying, pricing including tax and shipping, easy editing of orders so that buyers don’t have to contact customer service and saved info so customers don’t have to re-enter their information every time.

“This product is about one problem that we can do a very good job at solving,” he said. “We are just focusing on this small piece of mobile, which is native mobile transactions.”

modest-screenshot

Modest’s product isn’t a competitor with Shopify or Magento, which also help retailers bring their stores online. It comes with integrations for both. Android, ApplePay and PayPal support are coming soon.

The company operates with a freemium model. It’s free, or you can pay $200 a month for push notifications, e-mail buying, the ability to offer promo codes and no branding from Modest.