Pinterest-inspired beauty product recommendation service Preen.me was only launched last June, on a shoestring budget no less, but already the site has managed to build up a Facebook community of more than 175,000 ‘fans’.
Engagement levels on the site are quite high, too, leading our contributor from Israel, the lovely Shira Abel, to conclude that it “rocks social in a way no other Israeli company has” before.
Today, the Tel Aviv-based startup behind the site announced that it has secured $800,000 in seed funding from Horizons Ventures, which manages the private venture investments of Chinese billionaire business magnate Li Ka-shing, Genesis Partners, and prolific investors Oren Zeev (Orens Capital).
I asked Preen.me founder and CEO Tamar Yaniv, who spent the last decade working as an operations and marketing executive for some of the largest online gaming sites in the world (including PokerStars and bwin), how she ended up raising funding from Horizons Ventures. Just for your information: the firm was an early investors in a couple of companies you might have heard of, including Facebook, Spotify and Siri.
Yaniv tells me that she got connected to Frank Meehan of Horizons Ventures when the company participated in a program by Silicon Valley accelerator UpWest Labs, which supports Israeli startups in their early stages and helps bring them to the United States.
You can learn more about Preen.me in our earlier review, but the startup is hard at work assembling and supporting a social community of beauty enthusiasts. The underlying idea is to help women worldwide find and enjoy the beauty products that work for them by comparing profiles and offering personalized recommendations based on crowd-sourcing and social graph matchmaking techniques.
Yaniv says Preen.me wants to “take the guesswork out of buying beauty”. She claims that the US beauty market is already a $60 billion industry, in which women dispose of up to 75 percent of products they end up purchasing.
Obviously, acting as a gateway for community members to eventually buy beauty products on the site is the revenue model here, but Preen.me is currently not focused on building that part of the business yet. Engagement and users first, Yaniv proclaims.
The company was started by Yaniv about a year ago and is now going to use the seed funding to scale the business and set up a sales office in the United States.
She doesn’t rule eventually moving into other verticals or even beauty products for men at some point, but right now the startup is seemingly laser focused on building a passionate Facebook community of beauty fans first and foremost.
Finally, she taught me the word ‘preening’.
Image credit: China Photos / Getty Images