Forget About Black Friday and Cyber Monday — Catalog Spree Is Ready for Sofa Sunday
Padopolis, the company behind the Catalog Spree iPad app, which packs more than 100 catalogs, has raised $6.1 million in capital ahead of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The capital represents the company’s first round, led by Comcast Ventures. Participants in the company’s seed round, totaling $1.3 million, also chipped in, including BlackBerry Partners Fund and El Dorado Ventures.
Padopolis’ co-founder and CEO, Joaquín Ruiz, said the latest version of the application will come out next week, right in time for the holidays.
Improvements include realistic page turns and the ability to mark up content. “People wanted it to feel like paper while retaining the vivid imagery,” he said. “The little things add up to a lot.”
The new release is not only timed with Black Friday — which is the day after Thanksgiving and is counted as one of the busiest shopping days of the year — but also with something he’s calling “Sofa Sunday.”
“I know when people shop. I know when they are looking. … After you are exhausted with your Black Friday experience, you’ll relax and regroup on Sofa Sunday,” he said.
Padopolis is currently registering millions of page views on the weekends, when the average consumer spends 30 minutes flipping through catalogs. The amount of time increases the farther the users are from stores. If they are more than 100 miles outside of a major city, for example, he says the average kicks up to an hour and 20 minutes per session.
For women between the ages of 25 and 55, he calls it entertainment and relaxation.
“This is not a search, find and buy experience. It’s more about shopping, engaging and discovering,” he said.
Since raising the seed round earlier this year, the company has grown from seven retailers to more than 100, and from three employees to more than a dozen. It has also leased official offices in Los Altos, Calif.
One downside is that it’s also attracted fierce competitors, all angling for a piece of the $100 billion annual business in the U.S. Last year, roughly 20 billion catalogs were mailed, jumping from 18 billion two years ago, and now they are all betting those will go digital.
The biggest name to throw its hat in the ring is Google. It entered the arena in August, leveraging partnerships it had with retailers from its search engine to build an iPad app. TheFind, a six-year-old online shopping comparison site, launched the Catalogue app in May, and Coffee Table updated its app this week with more than 30 catalogs.
“I’m flattered that there’s three to four or five that are mimicking us,” Ruiz said. “It would be more daunting if we were the only ones out there. By this time next year, there will be at most three of us in the space and most likely only two because we’ll have had so much content and aggregation.”
The new funding will be used for growing the marketing and engineering teams at the company. Recently, the company added Claudia Carpenter, VP of user experience, who was a founder of Writely (which was acquired by Google), and Lee Bieber, VP of engineering and operations, who previously was at Rackspace, Intuit and Sun Microsystems.