Kara Swisher

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Swipely Nabs $7.5 Million in Series A Funding for Social Spending (And to Attack Blippy!)

Oh, joy: More venture bucks for more socializing of credit card information.

Today, it is Swipely’s turn to grab the spotlight in the ever-crowded space to, as the start-up’s press release so aptly says, “turn purchases into conversations.”

Yes, it says that.

BoomTown excitedly awaits the next big thing to be intrusively socialized, such as these start-ups: Wipely (it records and shares every time you clean your bathroom), Diaply (don’t let your friends miss every diaper change!), and, of course, Hypely (every time a social category is overfunded by VCs, you get a poke).

In any case, Swipely–now in private beta, founded by Tellme co-founder Angus Davis and backed by some top venture firms and Silicon Valley angel investors–got $7.5 million in funding to try to take on sites such as Blippy.

Index Ventures is leading the latest Swipely round, which includes Greylock Partners and First Round Capital, as well as investors such as Ron Conway and Chris Sacca.

Swipely said Danny Rimer of Index Ventures will join its board of directors, and Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners will serve as an observer.

Swipely had previously raised $1 million.

Blippy, its presumable rival, has raised close to $13 million from its own fancy-pants group of moneybags: August Capital, Sequoia Capital, Charles River Ventures, Conway (again!), Twitter CEO and co-founder Evan Williams and other well-known investors.

To differentiate itself, the Providence, Rhode Island-based Swipely is trying to go for a more circumspect approach to what is essentially a service that encourages digital blabbery about purchases.

Swipely’s take on making shopping social will involve sorting out credit info and giving you, your friends and retailers a lot of options to share, and the service is stressing opt-in over automated sharing–as well as better security, taking aim after a recent Blippy breach–via a “swipe.”

Get it?

Unlike Blippy, Swipely does not show the amount of money spent–for now–and lards in data, such as catalogs, on some purchases to encourage others to buy too.

Swipely seems, most of all, to be aiming for the high-minded version of social spending. But, please let us not forget: All these attempts are trying to get people to spend more, no matter how pretty you dress it up.

Here is another screenshot (click on it to make it larger):

And here’s the official press release:

Swipely to Reinvent How People Shop, Share and Save

Index Ventures, Greylock Partners, First Round Capital and Industry Luminaries Unite to Back New Start-up with $7.5 Million in Series A Funding

PROVIDENCE, R.I.–May 11, 2010 – Swipely (swipely.com), an online service that gives users an easy way to turn their purchases into conversations, announced it has completed its Series A round of financing, and a new preview version of its service is now available by invitation. Index Ventures led the Series A round, with participation from Greylock Partners, First Round Capital, and a number of well-known angel investors.

“Our mission is to fundamentally change the way consumers shop and share by adding value to every swipe,” said Angus Davis, Founder and CEO of Swipely. “Our service will transform everyday purchases at restaurants, movies or online retailers into conversations with friends, personalized recommendations and opportunities to save money.”

Founded and backed by veterans of Tellme, Microsoft, Netscape, eBay, LinkedIn and PayPal, Swipely provides a secure platform for consumers to recommend purchase experiences, discover new places and products through trusted friends, save money, and have more fun shopping.

Enter Swipely

On Swipely, every purchase is a “swipe.” Users start swiping by following an easy and secure sign-up process to import purchases from their credit or debit card accounts. Users can also import purchases from email for purchases made at any online store.

Users can rate their swipes and add comments or photos. Many swipes are geo-located automatically to specific store locations. Swipely also supports product details by integrating catalogs and menus from more than 250,000 retail and restaurant locations, allowing users to start conversations around specific outfits, meals, songs, movies, gadgets and millions of other products.

Discovering a new restaurant, movie or pair of shoes is easy on Swipely when users follow their friends. Upon seeing a great swipe for a new restaurant, users can click to see it on the map, and add it to their wishlist. Discovering music, movies and apps is easy, too–users can just press play on select swipes to hear a song preview, see a video trailer or browse app screen shots.

Swipely places a strong emphasis on protecting consumer privacy and security, and has passed reviews and audits from leading third party security and privacy organizations. Users have complete control over swipes get posted, and the specific amount spent remains private.

Industry Leaders Across Coasts and Continents Unite to Back Swipely

Swipley’s Series A funding was led by Index Ventures, with Greylock Partners and previous investor First Round Capital also participating. Danny Rimer of Index Ventures will join Swipely’s board of directors, and Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners will serve as an observer on Swipely’s board. To date, Swipely has raised $8.5 million in funding.

Swipely will use the funding to continue to grow the team and explore other benefits for consumers and businesses, including new ways for users to shop, share and save, and new tools to help businesses, understand and reward customers.

“We believe that the convergence of payments and social media is the natural next step in the evolution of the web. The notion of being able to use day-to-day transactions as a conversation element makes a great deal of sense and we expect it to be extremely popular,” said Danny Rimer, General Partner at Index Ventures. “Angus and the team have created the most compelling approach to enable this behavior and we’re very excited to be investors in Swipely.”

“We have been working with Angus since day one, when it was clear he had identified a huge opportunity with Swipely to change the way we shop and save on the Web,” said Josh Kopelman, Managing Partner at First Round Capital. “I’m excited to continue my support of Angus and his team as they take what started out as a visionary idea and turn it into a reality that will reinvent the way we talk our shopping experiences.”

“Swipely gets it right. Swipely offers a great service that helps consumers benefit from their card swipes,” said Reid Hoffman, Partner at Greylock, and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at LinkedIn.

“Furthermore, the company has a great team: Angus is a seasoned tech entrepreneur with an impressive track record and it is great to work with Danny and Josh.”

Other Swipely investors include Lowercase Capital led by Chris Sacca, former head of special initiatives for Google; Keith Rabois, EVP of Slide, and former PayPal and LinkedIn executive; SV Angel led by Ron Conway; Anton Commissaris, previously SVP of revenue and business development at Mint.com and now director at Intuit; Lee Hower, venture capitalist and angel investor; Charles Moldow, former Tellme executive; and Emil Michael, White House Fellow and former Tellme executive. Davis is also a significant investor in the company.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus