Y Combo-Backed HBS Startup Shoptiques Launches E-Commerce Site
Olga Vidisheva started Shoptiques during her second year at Harvard Business School to give shoppers online access to the curated inventory from independent boutiques around the world. She’s since generated some pretty serious interest—12,000 people on the private beta site’s wait list, to be exact.
The site has officially opened up to the public today, and it’s not just fashionistas excited about what Shoptiques has to offer. The New York-based startup just closed a “large seed round,” Vidisheva says, from venture firms Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Benchmark Capital, as well as SV Angels and Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley funding group whose accelerator program has supported Internet startups like Reddit, Disqus, Dropbox, and dozens upon dozens more. Shoptiques is part of Y Combinator’s currrent session, which is wrapping up later this month.
Vidisheva was the first sole, non-technical founder selected by the startup program, she says. “I think it’s the most amazing thing that has happened to our startup,” she says. There, Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham connected Vidisheva with her technical co-founders, brothers Dan and Jeff Morin, who went through Y Combinator in 2008 with the company Anyvite. They are full-time with Shoptiques now, Vidisheva says, and moving from the West Coast to New York for the startup, which provides an e-commerce technology platform and services to boutique owners who typically lack the resources to sell online.
Companies like Shoptiques that seek to apply Internet technology to the fashion retail space—to improve clothing fit, offer online personal-shopper experiences, better connect brands to consumers on Facebook, and more—have been starting up at a pretty feverish pace over the past few years. (Particularly ones with founders from Harvard Business School). But with Shoptiques’ investors having collectively funded companies like Facebook, Zynga, Twitter, Instagram, Groupon, eBay, LinkedIn, and Tumblr, it looks like fashion-tech businesses are catching the interest of those with track records of betting on the next big Internet hits.