Launching to the public a few days back, Wantering wants to be the social Web search service for fashionistas.
In a nutshell, Wantering lets users browse and buy fashion items using recommendations from across the social Web. Ultimately, this means you have to connect your Facebook account to use the service, something that may deter some folk from signing up.
After six months of private beta testing, Wantering officially opened its doors on Friday, though at the time of writing there is still an invite process to go through before being approved. We’re told that everyone should be granted access within 24 hours just now, and this barrier will be removed altogether this week.
“Our goal is to get users to a really high quality experience in the absolute least time possible,” explains co-founder Nick Molnar. “Facebook gives us your gender, email, and country without us having to ask, and gives us some pretty interesting insights into your taste. It shaves off a meaningful number of steps from our setup process.”
How it works
Once you’ve connected using your Facebook credentials, Wantering asks you a handful of questions to get an idea of your personal style…this includes what kind of bag you like, which shop you prefer (out of H&M, Banana Republic and Barneys New York), your favorite style of watch and, of course, your shoes.
Wantering uses this profile information, and 19 million data-points from across the Web, to reel in relevant items from their product catalogues. It ensures that the items are in-stock and priced appropriately, and delivers a personalized selection of items in a daily or weekly email.
You’ll be presented with selections from a range of retailers, including Zara, Urban Outfitters, ASOS and others.
It’s also worth noting here, that as shoppers continue to interact with the site, the system learns their taste and adjusts its recommendations accordingly. This is good, because I was recommended a lot of skinny-fit clothing, something I’m not particularly fond of.
Social curation is certainly all the buzz in many online industries, from news and media to, well, e-commerce – Svpply (now part of EBay), and Polyvore are testament to this. But Wantering wants to cement itself as the go-to online social service for browsing AND shopping.
“We live in a world where everyone is inundated with choices,” says CEO Matt Friesen, “but having thousands of options makes shopping more stressful and difficult. Wantering exists to filter out the noise and make shopping simple again.”
In addition to its public launch, Wantering also announced a fresh $470,000 seed round, led by Yaletown Ventures. Investors include Paul Kedrosky and Eric Norlin’s SK Ventures, Mike Edwards’ Initio Group, GrowLab, BDC Venture Capital, Scenario Creation, WUTIF, Ted Rheingold, and Max Teitelbaum.
Wantering recently graduated from the GrowLab accelerator in Vancouver, Canada. And the good folk behind the startup are no strangers to online shopping either.
Before Wantering, the team created the band t-shirt delivery service Shirtify.fm. And CEO Friesen previously built and sold Thirdi Software, a Web app and e-commerce software development house, while Head of UX Nick Cairns was previously Director of User Experience at Move Inc, one of the Web’s largest real estate search sites.