Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Changes are taking place at Sneakpeeq, after the two-year old social shopping startup quietly raised $4.7 million ahead of what looks like a pivot to become an e-commerce platform under a new guise.
Sneakpeeq sells style, home, beauty and living goods and requires users to connect their Facebook account to get into the website. The site grew thanks to Facebook’s Open Graph but it could be pivoting in response to changes Facebook implement to make Open Graph-connected apps less spammy, which lessened the viral effect and large audiences that some services enjoyed. Once red hot video app Viddy recapitalized for that reason this year, for example.
We caught sight of a filing that shows Sneakpeeq closed its $4.7 million Series B round last week, taking its total fundraising to nearly $15 million across three rounds. The filing doesn’t disclose who the latest backers are, but Sneakpeeq’s existing investors include FirstMark Capital, Bain Capital Ventures and notable angel investors like former Square COO Keith Rabois and Facebook Director of Monetization Tim Kendall.
The real interesting part is what the money is being used for. Sleuthing from Mattermark suggests that the company is pivoting to become an e-commerce platform and will be renamed to Symphony Commerce.
The Sneakpeeq website is still operational and its Facebook Page remains active, but there are hints that the business is struggling.
Traffic to the website has dropped significantly (according to Alexa stats — below) and its Twitter account has been inactive since April. However, the big clue comes via AngelList, where angel.co/sneakpeeq redirects to the Symphony Commerce page.
The Symphony Commerce profile shares the same details as the Sneakpeeq profile, listing founders Harish Abbott and Henry Kim as its founders, detailing the same investors, funding rounds, etc — all of which suggests it is the same company and a pivot and rebrand is on the way.
Symphony Commerce claims it will help online retailers “re-imagine commerce”. The limited amount of information on its website suggests it will power e-commerce sites, although exactly what functions that it takes care of, and how, remain unclear.
Here is the description of its business from its website and Angel List page:
Competing in today’s ecommerce space is a complex undertaking. Turning your business into a work of art requires synchronizing all its moving parts. Symphony’s platform allows brands to focus on what matters most, while we take care of the technology that powers your vision. Gain the freedom to design more, build more, and sell more; it’s time to embrace a more intuitive way to do commerce.
It seems that the new capital will be used to build a team and presumably platform at Symphony Commerce, which is lists eight vacancies on its website.
The most recent development of significance from Sneakpeeq was the launch of its iPad app in September 2012. We wrote that the company was riding high on Facebook’s Open Graph in January 2012, but 18 months later it looks like the social commerce game is up for the startup.
We’ve reached out to the team at Sneakpeeq/Symphony Commerce to get a clearer idea of what is happening.
Headline image via Thinkstock
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