Search engines and other e-retailers lose share as shoppers increasingly turn to Amazon for product searches, a Bloomreach survey finds.
Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, a new Slice investor, led the funding round.
Slice, a shopping application that helps consumers keep track of their online shopping, raised $23 million in a new funding round led by Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. and that included previous investors DCM, Innovation Endeavors and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Two other new investors participated in the funding round: private equity firm Russia Partners and research and advisory firm NPD Group. Slice has raised more than $32 million to date.
Slice’s shopping app, launched in 2011, organizes the order confirmations and shipping notifications that e-retailers e-mail consumers after they purchase. Consumers let the Slice application access their webmail accounts. It is also available in mobile app form for iPhone and Android. A second app, called Bookshelf, launched this summer and pulls information about e-book purchases from users’ inboxes. Users can share information about the books they’ve bought with other Bookshelf users. Slice and comparison shopping engine TheFind earlier this summer announced they were working together to personalize the results consumers who use Slice see on TheFind based on their previous online purchases.
“Our massive growth over the past two years topped off with this round of financing validates our vision to solve consumer needs with services that go far beyond their expectations,” said Scott Brady, Slice CEO and co-founder. Brady says the new funding will go toward developing products and growing the company.
Slice did not say how much Rakuten contributed to the funding round, and inquiries to Rakuten were not immediately returned. Rakuten, which operates the largest online shopping portal in Japan and is the No. 2 e-retailer in all of Asia by sales according to the Asia 500, has made numerous investments in digital companies in recent months. Earlier this month Rakuten Marketing, a division of Rakuten Inc., acquired PopShops, a Seattle-based technology company that sends product data to comparison shopping and coupon sites. In May, it acquired a majority stake in online marketplace TheGrommet.com, and last year it led a $100 million funding round in social network Pinterest.
As part of an aggressive international expansion strategy, Rakuten in 2010 bought U.S. online discount retailer Buy.com. The Japanese company has since rebranded it Rakuten Shopping and converted it into an online marketplace that hosts other merchants’ shops but does not sell on its own behalf, adopting the business model of Rakuten Japan.