Product discovery and reviews platform, Influenster, has raised $8 million in financing from Ebates, a leading online cashback shopping service.
Ebates is a subsidiary of Rakuten — the multi-billion dollar Japanese holding corporation which owns stakes in the entertainment service, Viki, the messaging service, Viber, and was a lead investor in Pinterest.
As part of the agreement between both firms, Ken Hirschman, Ebates’ VP of Strategic Alliances, will join the Influenster board of directors, as part of a collaborative alliance but also to assist in serving the interests of the investment moving forward. Ebates has a history of investing in internet shopping companies — while being one themselves. With a growing reviews service like Influenster, Ebates could increase their reach in internet consumer reviews and purchasing, ultimately occupying two fronts of the online shopping experience.
The $8 million Series A will allow Influenster to better scale their service to meet the demands of a quickly growing user base, as well as staying on top of the sheer variety of products it catalogs.
Over six million unique user-originated product reviews are hosted on the site, on 1.5 million different products, ranging from beauty cosmetics, electronics, food, fashion, retail services, pets and even home products, including appliances.
Co-founded in 2010 by Aydin Acar, the company’s chief executive, and Elizabeth Scherle, Influenster’s president, the New York-based service has 40 employees monitoring and curating the 500,000+ reviews that get added to the service every month.
Besides being a product discovery and reviews website, Influenster also sports mobile apps for iOS and Android.