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Shopping for the next e-commerce hit, investors have spent $2 million on budding startup Wanelo, an online shopping community where regular people share their uncommon finds.
“Wanelo is a movement of regular people who help each other find things they like, and most of these things are affordable,” Wanelo CEO and founder Deena Varshavskaya told VentureBeat. “Wanelo is about unique things you can actually buy.”
The comparisons to Pinterest is practically unavoidable — members find and save products to personal collections — but Wanelo moves beyond the aspirational and encourages members to swap affordable treasures for their shopping wish-lists.
“Users go to Pinterest to find or collection inspiration; they go to Wanelo to shop,” said Varshavskaya.
Founded in October 2010, the San Francisco-based company has attracted a highly engaged community of shoppers who save, on average, 100,000 products each day and who have collectively posted 1.3 million products from 24,000 stores.
“Even though we have an addictive and growing community, we’re just scratching the surface of what we need to build,” Varshavskaya said. “As we get deeper into solving various problems around shopping, the experience will become more obviously differentiated [from Pinterest].”
This $2 million round of funding was Wanelo’s first. Floodgate, First Round Capital, Naval Ravikant, Forerunner Ventures, Roger Dickey, Aayush Phumbhra, Andy Dunn, and other angels all participated. The money will be used to help the company expand operations, hire engineers and designers, and push out new products.
Wanelo has a team of 11 employees and recently brought on former ModCloth senior engineer Konstantin Gredeskoul as CTO, and Etsy alum Sean Flannagan as vice president of product. The startup doesn’t have a revenue model in place yet but believes the product-centered experience is inherently monetizable.
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