OpenSky lets consumers choose the experts they want recommending them products.
Thad Rueter , Senior Editor
The OpenSky Project Inc., which operates an e-commerce site where consumers can personalize their shopping by choosing experts and celebrities to recommend them products, said today it has raised $30 million from new and existing investors.
OpenSky plans to use the funding to increase the number of experts, or “curators” as Open Sky calls them, who help shoppers find products and deals in such categories as food, style, health and home; OpenSky says it has at least 75 of the curators now. The e-commerce operator also plans to expand into new categories. OpenSky says it has signed up 600,000 members since it launched in April. In exchange for an e-mail address, members can shop by selecting experts who offer product recommendations. The idea is for the member to feel as though the recommendations serve almost as a personalized online catalogue.
Providence Equity Partners, a new investor, led the funding round. Existing investors Highland Capital Partners, Canaan Partners and The Raine Group also took part. Providence managing director Al Dobron joins the OpenSky board; he already serves on the boards of comparison shopping engine Nextag Inc., online car marketplace AutoTrader.com and online entertainment provider Hulu.
"OpenSky is a great company with a unique online retail experience that is driving a real innovation to shopping," Dobron says. "We look forward to partnering with the OpenSky team and bringing our extensive internet experience to add lasting value."