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Social ecommerce startup The Fancy nets a further $53m in new funding round

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.

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