Buyosphere is web celebrity Tara Hunt‘s greatest gamble, and after some shaky months, it might be starting to pay off.
Following a successful rebranding effort, the team has just closed an oversubscribed seed round of funding — $325,000, to be exact.
The funding will be aimed squarely at new user acquisition as well as a couple key hires.
The round, which eschewed big-name Silicon Valley capital for firms and individuals based closer to Buyosphere’s Montreal headquarters, was led by Real Ventures, Canada’s largest seed venture fund.
Also participating were angel investors Jesse Kaplan of Seek Capital, John Granger of Grassfed Capital, David Chamandy of Machkor Holdings and Thomas Merlin.
Part of today’s news is Buyosphere’s pivot. Previously, the startup was focused on providing a shopping and fashion-focused community with links to purchase history but without invasive cookies.
The company’s pared-down mission is now providing a Q&A platform for shoppers. Hunt calls it “a Quora for shopping.”
“We’re demonstrating the power of peer to peer shopping search,” Hunt said in an email with VentureBeat. “Algorithms are a long way off from picking up nuances that a person can. And personal taste is full of nuance.”
Eventually, the Buyosphere team, which includes co-founders Cassandra Girard and Jerome Paradis, hopes to revolutionize online product search through a combination of social search and intelligent use of data.
“We invested in Buyosphere because they are tackling what is fast becoming a large problem in e-commerce,” said Real Ventures partner Mark MacLeod in a statement.
“Today’s online shopper is faced with almost limitless choices but severely limited time. Buyosphere offers customers a solution combining personalization, curation and social features to help connect consumers and brands.”
While the amounts might seem small to someone accustomed to the mega-rounds raised by San Francisco-based startups, Hunt says even a little money goes a long way in Montreal.
“There is considerable talent in the area and we are well-situated to retail and fashion hubs like New York,” she concluded. “It’s the best of both worlds.”