Oh You Fancy Huh?
the startup rundown
This morning, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg joined high-end photo-sharing site The Fancy under the name “zuckd.” I guess you could say: fancy recognize fancy? In that time, the Facebook CEO has already amassed more than 102,000 followers. He’s also following some fellow Facebookers, such as Dave Morin, the CEO of Path, and Serkan Piantino, who will head up Facebook’s engineering office in New York. (Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes sits on company’s board.)
A few months back, we described the aspirational site as “kind of like Pinterest, but all about the money.” The Fancy is growing fast and has a plan to turn anything users share into a chance to buy.
Zuck has also registered for Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest itself, but naturally, his presence on a young site is bound to jump-start the rumor mill.
Oh You Fancy Huh?
PERFECT TEN. Last Wednesday Time Inc. brought together editors from many of their news properties to bestow upon us the “10 NYC Startups to Watch.” Only in the startup picking game since lat year’s Internet Week, Time Inc. has already picked winners like GroupMe, which was purchased by Skype for a supposed $85 milion.
The startups that made the cut for 2012 are Adaptly, a social advertising platform; Art.sy, the Pandora of art; Codeacademy, an interactive self-paced tool to learn to code; Enterproid, a mobile platform to segregate work from personal information on a single mobile device; Fab—you already know what Fab does; Fancy Hands, a provider of virtual personal assistants; Loosecubes, a matchmaker for workers and workspaces SideTour; a community marketplace for booking and hosting adventures, Stamped; a five-star-only mobile rating app and Truth Art Beauty; an online platform where users can custom-create skincare blends.
FOUNDER POWER. This Friday Women 2.0 is hosting their New York Founder Friday at 16 East 34th Street. Featured founders Cheryl Yeoh of CityPockets and Eloise Bune of GraciousEloise will begin speaking at 7 p.m. but the event will kick off at 6 p.m. with an introduction by Matt Wolfrom of Makovsky and Company, the event’s sponsor. Founder Friday is free, and open to people of all genders, unlike the LOL-inducing “Jews against the Internet” rally, which is $10 and closed to women. Unfortunately, Founder Friday is already at capacity. Add your name to the wait list and cross your fingers.
RALLY IN THE ALLEY. The Association for a Better New York Foundation and Mayor Bloomberg honored the city’s technology leaders in Union Square last Thursday including Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley, Greycroft’s Alan Patricof, ideeli CEO Paul Hurley and NYTM cofounder Dawn Barber. The Lew Rudin Founder’s Award went to New York City deputy mayor for economic development Robert Steel.
The last time we checked in with social commerce startup Fancy was back in February, around the time Kanye West tweeted out his approval for “My friend Joseph’s site.” The Joseph in question is ThingD founder Joe Einhorn, the wunderkind entrepreneur trying to create “the Facebook of stuff” as Ben Popper wrote in a profile of Mr. Einhorn in The Observer in 2010. (Somewhere along the way, The Fancy opted to drop the “The.”)
Like Pinterest, Fancy is focused on discovering and collecting images of things. Unlike Pinterest, which relies on affiliate marketing links, anything on Fancy can be bought. You “fancy” a thing and Fancy lets brands and retailers sign up to sell that item on the site. That photo of the Eiffel Tower, for example, comes attached to a deal for hotel nights in Paris.
Oh You Fancy Huh?
With more than 11 million users Pinterest is the current King Kong of sites featuring curated collections of images of doilies and Quaker-style furniture (among many other things). The Fancy may have trumped Pinterest in one respect–businesses can profit directly from items posted on the site. This differs from the current model used by Pinterest which monetizes content through affiliate links:
Merchants need to claim items already posted on the Fancy site in order to sell there. Right now, the startup will only accept one merchant per item. Eventually, like Google, it will list many merchants who sell an item. If no merchant claims an item, users still need to travel to a third-party site in order to make the purchase.
Joe Einhorn launched The Fancy in 2011. High profile backers include Ashton Kutcher and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey sits on its board. Until today, though, it was a lesser-known Pinterest competitor and like that site unprofitable. Business Insider, however, says The Fancy’s users are “highly engaged” and the site is more “male-focused” than Pinterest.
When we first wrote about Joe Einhorn’s company, thingd, it was mostly flying below the radar, and surprised the blogosphere with its all star cast of investors and board members. This week, Betabeat has learned, Mr. Einhorn will be surprising the NY tech scene a second time. The Fancy, one of the consumer facing projects under the thingd umbrella, has secured a $10 million round of financing at a valuation north of $100 million.
Interestingly, the big bucks don’t come from a typical venture investor, but from a new lead investor PPR, the $16 billion French multi-national run by Francois Henri-Pinault, which owns the globe’s biggest fashion brands, including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga. PPR has earned a reputation for its smart, aggressive acquisition strategy and saw its stock jump after an impressive third quarter, but is little known in the tech world.