A Q&A with Shopcade founder and CEO Nathalie Gaveau. The London- and New York City-based startup, which is a mobile fashion discovery and shopping app, closed a £2.5 million Seed funding round earlier this month. Investors in the round include Angels Pascal Cagni and Michel Combes. It was founded in late 2010.
SUB: Please describe Shopcade and your primary innovation.
Gaveau: Shopcade.com is your one-stop shopping app for all things stylish. You can discover new trends, channel your favorite celeb looks and see what’s making the daily hot list. Shopcade also saves shoppers money by alerting them when products they want have an offer available. Trends and deals.
Shopcade bridges the gap between editorial content and shopping with seasonal trends and great deals all in one place. Our primary innovation is that our community is fully social and mobile: today’s trends are powered by fashion-industry insiders as well as our fashionable users, and our main focus is on our mobile apps—Android and iOS7 coming very shortly.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Gaveau: Our community primarily caters to the needs of young, fashion-conscious girls. However, we also have in the mix a fair share of fashionable boys.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates Shopcade from the competition?
Gaveau: There are quite a few lifestyle apps like Pinterest that let you share your interests. However, Shopcade focuses on trends and deals so that our users discover products through fashionable looks and can get them for the best prices. For shoppers, it’s a convenient way to stay on the beat of fashion culture; for the fashion industry, it’s a new, dedicated channel to showcase their content, much like Instagram.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised €2.5 million in new Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise additional funding?
Gaveau: We felt it was the right time to focus on our growing mobile audience, so fashionistas can discover trends and deals on-the-go. We also wanted to start focusing more on delivering quality content, such as trends from fashion-industry insiders. It also was an opportunity to work and be inspired by people like Pascal Cagni and Michel Combes, who were previous CEOs of successful mobile companies like Apple and Vodafone.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds?
Gaveau: We’re building Shopcade’s new iOS7 and Android apps. We also plan to spend a bit to let more fashionistas know about Shopcade.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Shopcade? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Gaveau: There was a very initial ‘aha’ moment that the next generation of online shopping was destined to be socially powered for discovery. But there were also plenty of gradual ideas that developed in later stages, as we listened to both what our users wanted as well as what the fashion industry needed. I anticipate those moments to continue happening as we further polish the product to be hyper-relevant to fashion lovers worldwide.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Gaveau: We built the foundation of the company with founders who came from different backgrounds but believe in the common vision. Once we had an idea that struck a chord, we both raised some Angel funding, and went through rapid iteration phases with our team to get the product up and running so we can learn from data and feedback. This meant getting investors, design, retail partners and the technology to be all in one accord constantly.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Gaveau: Shopcade is a combination of the words ‘shop’ and ‘arcade’—we envisioned an endless arcade full of stores offering products individually selected by real people. We had quite a few funky ideas for the name at the time, but we settled on ‘Shopcade’ because it was short, simple, and memorable.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Gaveau: Possibly, to fuel international growth and to further raise awareness of Shopcade in 2014.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Gaveau: Startup environments are fast-changing and you have to stay ahead of expectations from both users and fashion industry alike. Further, social shopping is a completely new way of thinking, so the challenges were mostly around finding the right people who were smart, understood the market, and were willing to get snuck in and rapidly iterate a constantly-evolving product.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Gaveau: Right now, we generate revenue from sales of products from our retail partners, and were awarded the best affiliate site in the Ecommerce Awards 2013. In the future, we plan to experiment with models such as direct sales and big data.
SUB: What are your goals for Shopcade over the next year or so?
Gaveau: We want to be the top fashion app in the U.S. and the UK, then be renowned as the go-to fashion app worldwide. We can also branch into different lifestyle categories and countries.
Shopcade – www.shopcade.com