All about the plastic: Swipely follows Blippy into social shopping
What do you get when you combine shopping and social media?
The answer, it seems, is the latest craze among tech investors.
On Tuesday, Swipely announced $7.5 million in Series A funding and the launch of a service that publishes info about personâ€™s credit card purchases to groups of friends.
The funding was led by Index Ventures, and includes such celebrity patrons of social media as Chris Sacca, an early Twitter backer, and Ron Conway. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, whose VC firm Greylock Partners also took part in the funding round, will join Swipelyâ€™s board as an observer.
Swipelyâ€™s windfall comes shortly after Blippy pocketed roughly $11 million in funding, according to media reports, to help it push forward with a similar type of service. Among Blippyâ€™s backers are Sequoia Capital and Evan Williams, better known as the CEO of Twitter.
While Blippy publishes financial details of a transaction, like how much money Joe just spent at Chuck E Cheese, Swipely is focused on the goods at the center of the transaction â€“ e.g. Joe just bought a set of Bocce balls â€“ discussâ€¦
Of course, plenty of people already discuss such things by simply sending Facebook or Twitter status updates about their latest purchase or about that new restaurant they just ate at.
But Swipely says it can make the conversation richer and easier: Every time a retailer swipes your credit card, a ready-made post is automatically created that can include images of the actual goods, thanks to Swipelyâ€™s integration of 250,000 catalogs and menus, as well as location-specific information about a storeâ€™s location. A Swipely user can choose to share the transaction with groups of friends, adding additional comments, or keep it private.
At some point in the future, Swipely says, it hopes to help users save money by making recommendations based on their shopping habits (We noticed you always buy gas at location X, did you know itâ€™s 10 cents cheaper per gallon around the corner at location Y?).
Swipelyâ€™s service will become available by invitation only on Tuesday.
In the wake of a mishap last month at Blippy, in which certain credit card info for some consumers was inadvertently exposed on the Web, the nascent field of social shopping may have to overcome some consumer apprehension before it can grow into a mainstream phenomenon.
But among the Webâ€™s investing class, the new world of shopping and social networking is clearly open for business.