The University of Pennsylvania may be in the running for Stanford of the East, if the backing of bookmarking site WantWorthy is any indication. The startup’s recently closed round of seed funding includes angel investment from Eric Bradlow, a former professor to WantWorthy’s founders, Lauren McDevitt and Josh Wais. Bradlow also backed Invite Media, which sold to Google in 2010, and the founders of that company used some of the proceeds to invest in their fellow alumni’s endeavor as well. It’s almost-but-not-quite interconnected enough to remind me of the Stanford-Silicon Valley discussion this spring. (Warby Parker, Lore, and Custora all hail from UPenn as well.)
WantWorthy has closed its seed round of funding worth $1 million from from RRE Ventures, Google Ventures, Quotidian Ventures and angels.
Not to be confused with Wantful, Wantr, Wantify, Wantly, Wantsy, or Wanty,* New York-based WantWorthy is basically like a Pinterest if it were built by ecommerce companies. And by that, I mean it does everything an online retailer wishes Pinterest did.
Pinterest is littered with boards titled “WANT!” or mere pins labeled with a similar form of stuff-lust. But pins mostly just get passed around between users, and there’s no metadata on price or brand attached unless a user manually includes it.
WantWorthy’s saved items include all of that, and the site goes a step further to help convert a “want” into a “bought.” The site will ping users when an item they want goes on sale, for example. And, in the future, it will offers deals and reminders to help funnel users past the stage of considering an item and into purchasing it. Social functions allow users to solicit opinions on items from friends.
Since launching, the company has recieved inbound interest from a few retailers but has been too hard at work on its product to launch any campaigns with them.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping Facebook’s rumored Want button from swooping in and killing WantWorthy’s usefulness before it really takes off. (The TechStars NY alum launched last year and hasn’t disclosed anything related to its user growth.) But the company’s founders see it this way — for online shoppers, this is a new place to interact with friends, save items you like, and possibly do some shopping without broadcasting it to your 500 or so Facebook acquaintances.
The idea is that the site is complimentary to the discovery that might happen on Pinterest or TheFancy; it’s a conduit toward making the actual purchase. “We don’t care if you bring an item in from Facebook, Pinterest, or one of our tools,” Wais says. “We just want to be the place where you keep it.”
*May not be real.