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Video e-commerce startup Joyus announced Monday that it has raised $7.9 million in a bid to make video a more powerful tool in online commerce. Along with the funding announcement, the company’s site opens today for an invite-only public beta with a focus on high-end women’s products.
Headed by former Google executive Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, the company seeks to work with well-known brands to create premium videos. These videos will be embeddable anywhere around the web and will include a buy button and analytics functions.
“We’re building a video platform that is entirely based around buying a product rather than entertaining a viewer,” Singh Cassidy told VentureBeat. “This is a way to make conversion to sales higher, and brands are interested in that.”
Accel Partners and Harrison Metal are the lead investors for this funding round, with smaller investments coming from Wal-Mart executives Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman and CurrentTV’s Joel Hyatt. Singh Cassidy left Google to work for Accel in 2009, so its no suprise the company was first on her list when she was looking for significant funding.
Another major component of Joyus videos are analytics. Joyus says it offers its brand partners better ways to find out how their customers are responding and engaging with videos. One early measurement the company highlights is an optimal video length between 2:30 and 3:30 minutes to get a customer to engage.
So far, Joyus has only worked with smaller Internet commerce sites, including Azalea Boutique, Prtty Peaushun and ModCloth.
“The Joyus platform allows us to reach a broader audience of passionate, fashion savvy women with our new, in-season inventory,” said Catherine Chow of Azalea Boutique, in a statement. “We see video on Joyus being an exciting new component of our online marketing strategy.”
No major brands have been announced yet for Joyus, but Singh Cassidy said the company will reveal bigger partners in the fall.
Singh Cassidy said she sees no direct competitor in the online space right now. She suggests TV home shopping is the closest thing that exists to Joyus. “Channels like HSN and AVC are the most direct comparisons, but they are on a closed platform,” she said.
I asked Singh Cassidy whether YouTube videos, which already feature ways to link products to video, covered the space Joyus intends to reach. She said other companies featured elements similar to Joyus’, but no single company offered as comprehensive a tool set for video-based commerce.
“Joyus mixes commerce, social, and analytics into a video platform like no other company,” Singh Cassidy said.
We’ll have to wait for the fall to see if Joyus can rustle up big-name clients and see how the product evolves.
Do you think Joyus can change or improve video-based online commerce?