Social e‑commerce startup The Fancy has just raised an additional $53 million courtesy of American Express, billionaire Len Blavatnik and Hollywood megastar Will Smith, a line-up guaranteed to impress e‑commerce managers from shore to shore.
A Pinterest to go shopping in
It’s big rival, Pinterest, is estimated to be worth $2 billion and, being the older kid on the block, it’s so far banked hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. But The Fancy is no runt in the litter; following the latest funding round, news has emerged that it’s valued at a tidy $600 million and has sales tipping the $3 million a month mark, which most e‑commerce managers will agree is not to be scoffed at in the slightest. And neither is the money raised from previous funding rounds, which prior to this the latest sum came to a handsome $60 million. Investors seem to like what they see.
Most e‑commerce managers would also agree that that’s not at all bad for a firm that began from somewhat quirky origins. The Fancy sprang from Thingd (short for “Thing Dream”, a New York-based startup founder by an entrepreneur called Joe Einhom) and from the start it aimed to be a kind of Pinterest with shopping power. Where Thingd limped a little, The Fancy hit the ground running and proved hugely popular.
It uses a clever demand-led commerce model that allows retailers and brands to sell any item that’s been “fancied” on the website provided they sign up. Transactions are conducted on the site, so that consumer discovery and demand gets morphed into direct sales all in one place. The range of items is amusing, from liquor flasks with integral cigar holders to light-up shower heads to much, much else besides.
Expansion and staying ahead
The new cash is being ploughed into expanding the New York-based startup and is likely to help it keep in the lead against rival firms such as Pinterest and newcomer Wanelo, which is certainly gaining in popularity too.
The Fancy’s board has changed in the wake of the new funding round and now includes Edward Gilligan (President of American Express), Kering chairman Francois-Henri Pinault and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
Mr Einhom’s idea, it seems, really has got legs.