Venice-based Tapiture, “a social curation and e-commerce site,” announced it raised $2.25 million in seed funding today. The seed round consists of $1.25 million of new capital after raising $1 million from a convertible note last year. As part of the investment, Randall Kaplan of JUMP Investors will join Tapiture’s board.
The site gives its members a platform to save and share images, video and audio with followers. Members can also buy products from Tapiture’s merchant partners.
Without spending funds on marketing yet, the company’s growth has been organic and progressing at a healthy clip, CEO John Ellis said. This new round of funding will change that; it will be used primarily for marketing as the company looks to tell their story. It will also assist their merchants. In their current model, the company finds a product they like and deals directly with the merchant, giving the merchant premium exposure. But down the road, funding will help Tapiture expand different levels of exposure . This is something Ellis says the company has seen demand for.
With the new funding, users should expect a unified experience across desktop and mobile applications with additional consumer features not yet available. After the success of their app for iOS, the company is building an Android application that it plans to launch later this year. Even with the visual nature of the website, the company is already seeing crossover between mobile and desktop. Mobile usage accounts for 38 percent of the traffic, according to Ellis.
The company does not disclose member counts, Ellis said, but the site gets around 3.1 million unique visits a month, with 6.5 – 7 million total monthly visits. Three-quarters of users are men, with a growing number of women. Half of the user base lives outside of the U.S., although sales are limited to North America. European cities such as Berlin are already a hotbed of activity for the company. Tapiture hopes to tap into some of these overseas markets, by providing sales worldwide, localizing their content and providing the site in different languages.
To deal with this overseas aim, Tapiture is actively looking to expand its 20-person team with new marketing employees this year.
Tapiture does not provide revenue data, but Ellis said that they “launched monetization fairly early because we wanted to test the hypothesis that people would buy in this nature, and we found that we did.”