- Curated, a platform that brings together people and products by matching customers with experts for high-consideration purchases has raised $27.5 million
Curated — a platform that brings together people and products by matching customers with unbiased experts for high-consideration purchases — announced that it has raised $27.5 million in total funding. The company is led by former LinkedIn and Facebook veterans and it brings the personal touch of an in-store specialty shopping experience to customers online through the thoughtful guidance of real experts — who can now monetize their passions while providing a new way to discover products from new and established brands.
The seed investment of the company comes from several LinkedIn executives, Michael Zeisser, and John Burbank of Passport Capital. The Series A round of funding was led by Forerunner Ventures. In conjunction with the funding round, Forerunner Ventures founder and managing director Kirsten Green is joining the Curated’s board of directors.
In order to provide the best possible expert match when first visiting the site, customers are prompted to answer a few basic questions about their specific needs. And they are then connected with a category expert (a real person) to discuss the details of what they are looking for. While the conversation starts on the platform, it can continue via text, phone, or email.
Once Curated understands what the customer is looking for, the expert provides a list of personalized recommendations with detailed explanations of why each product is a fit based on their first-hand experience and deep knowledge of the products for that category. And once the expert and customer have found the right product together, customers can buy directly from Curated.
What is Curated’s goal? The company is aiming address a broad range of considered purchases, including enthusiast categories like golf, winter sports, and cycling with more to become available once the company expands.
“At Curated, our goal is to help people pursue their passions and interests to the fullest by helping them buy the right product or experience. We want to get rid of the uncertainty that often surrounds complex or big-ticket online purchases,“ said Eduardo Vivas, co-founder and CEO of Curated. “There’s an incredible number of experts around the country — like golf and ski pros — who live their passions every day and have the desire to share their knowledge. We saw an opportunity to bring their untapped expertise to digital commerce and allow people to benefit from it so they can shop with confidence and love what they buy.”
Curated has been quietly operating since late 2017 and the company sees a nearly 0% return rate compared to the 30% industry standard.
This round of funding will be used for investing in the team and experts. And it will also be used for improving the online platform, marketing to scale the business, and expanding to additional shopping categories that have low online penetration.
“Retail has moved beyond four walls and should reflect a shopper’s tastes, needs and personal histories,” explained Kirsten Green, Founder and Managing Director of Forerunner Ventures. “Consumers want to be part of a collaborative shopping process, and simply put, Curated is providing the memorable experience that’s been eroded as specialty stores shutter and most online shopping focuses on getting customers to buy quickly, not correctly. By bringing that unique retail experience that once happened offline between a customer and a really knowledgeable expert, to the consumer on a digital front, Curated is moving past a system that delivers average, one-size-fits-all products at speed. They are focused on engaging shoppers through rich dialogue, ensuring a more meaningful and satisfying shopping experience.”
Some of Curated’s other investors include Applovin founder Adam Foroughi and Stifel Financial Group managing director Jamie Knall.