Olapic, the e‑commerce-focused photo-sharing startup based in New York, recently took a major step forward in expanding awareness about its unique approach to e‑commerce marketing after securing a Series A round amounting to $5 million. But e‑commerce analysts and other professionals working in e‑commerce media jobs are probably wondering what exactly is so unique about the platform?
Co-founded in 2011 by three Spanish émigrés who met as students at Columbia University (Pau Sabria, Luis Sanz and Jose de Cabo), Olapic lets visitors use a simple upload tool to contribute their own images. The uploader is able to access locally stored images or those posted on social networks like Instagram and Twitter. But this, e‑commerce analysts might agree, is where the clever stuff starts: publishers, agencies and e‑retailers can use those photos to promote their brands on their own websites.
Olapic works chiefly with e‑retailers, scouring the Net on their behalf for brand or product related keywords and hashtags. Once Olapic has crowdsourced the relevant user-generated images, the brand can choose the ones that most favorably reflect the product and display them in an online gallery or product page. Brands have total control over the photos used on their websites and Olapic lets them see user submissions in real time. It also enables them to stay connected to the users who made the submissions, a feature which Pau Sabria reckons increases conversions.
Success beckons for Olapic’s pioneering approach
Last year, the startup started to diversify its client base by tapping into publisher brands like NY Daily News and Conde Nast. But it’s recently placed more emphasis on partnering with e‑retailers. As any seasoned e‑commerce analyst can tell, user-generated images can function very effectively as visual product reviews.
Sabria explained, “Customer-inspired e‑commerce is a market we are pioneering. We will use the funding to invest a significant effort into creating awareness for this type of marketing and e‑commerce experience.”
The startup now has bragging rights to around 20 live brands, including major e‑commerce names like Coach, Jet Blue, Lululemon, Nasty Gal, New Balance and Threadless.
The latest funding round was led by Longworth Venture Partners and Fung Capital USA, with existing investors Scout Ventures and Great Oaks also participating. The additional funds will be deployed in marketing investment and in hiring more sales staff.