Scratch, a personal shopping startup, announced it raising $3.6 million in seed funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, NextView Ventures, Red Swan Ventures and the CEO of Blue Apron, Matt Salzberg.
Launched its Beta testing phase in January this year, the startup Scratch is out to help the confused and no-so-sure consumers that seek help in shopping for what they want to buy. The service is currently open to public on an invite-only basis.
The seed for the idea was from the own struggles of the CEO Matt Zisow who has issues to get everything done. His obsession to find the best way to reduce the stress of shopping while in a hectic work schedule gave way to the start of this company. The startup has chat-centric tools to allow users to send short missives to its team of personal shoppers through email or the app. In less an hour after posting the query, the shoppers will follow-up with the client asking questions like desired price and the list of options that are available to order through Scratch.
The startup currently houses six shopping experts and planning to grow the team with a range of freelance shoppers. Though it doesn’t call itself a stylist service, the app could definitely used in ways that approximate that experience. Currently, it does not really focus on fashion but tie-ups with couple hundred brands which mostly deal with home, gifts and accessories. During the beta stage, it saw around 75% of sales through gifts and home, 15% from jewelry and accessories.
Zisow, for the start has watched the company’s user base climb from the hundreds into the thousands in the past few months and said that him standardize the site for launch. He initially planned to introduce it as paid service by charging $5 per query or to have a monthly or annual subscription rates with unlimited searches. However, Scratch is free for its users and the company is instead taking a small portion as commission from sales. “We have done the hard work of acquiring the customers,” he said which is now helping the company to attract partnerships. The startup proves successful for nearly 50% of users buy the product their shopper has suggested.
More than 100 brands and retailers are working with the company. Zisow promises these partnerships won’t determine the goods his shoppers will send your way and he is planning to work with smaller and upcoming brands to bring it out to the market and upscale customer base. When asked what if someone gets suggestions and goes to buy elsewhere, he says the company is in a sweet spot that bridges two trends that people are becoming more dependent on the on-demand economy, which had people to rely on services at the push of a button. “I think you can group the competitors into two big buckets and we have positioned ourselves in the middle of those two,” he said.
Headquartered in South Station,in the recent months, scratch has added many employees including former staffers from Wayfair, TripAdvisor and Gemvara bring the team up to 15.