The Hunt, e-commerce and photo sharing app for millennials, just announced today that it has raised $10 Million in Series B funding, according to a statement released by The Hunt company executives.
Khosla Ventures led the funding round and is joining previous investor Javelin Ventures in bringing the company’s total Series B funding to $10 million. The funding follows the recent $5.5 million Series A investment with the total funding of the company amounting to $15.5M million. Ben Ling, Investment Partner at Khosla Ventures, will also join The Hunt’s board as part of the investment.
“Today, The Hunt is changing the way that people shop online by identifying intent on the visual web.” Ling, said. Monetizing the visual web is the next big opportunity, and we are looking forward to being a part of The Hunt’s success.”
The Hunt taps into its young shoppers’ “existing passion for fashion, the camaraderie of community, and the enticement of an ongoing, fun, but achievable challenge,” the company’s press release states. Unlike online fashion marketplaces that are limited by size of catalog, extent of index or automated approaches to “nuanced” searches, the fast-growing and altruistic community of shoppers that makes up The Hunt provides a place to get suggestions for “coveted” fashions that match a shopper’s taste at the at their specified budget.
Tim Weingarten, CEO of The Hunt started working on the app with his team in Spring 2012 as a website and launched in the winter of 2013, because he said most of his team, including himself, are avid shoppers and consumers of photo-sharing applications but couldn’t really pinpoint where could they buy what they saw on these photo-sharing sites. A key inflection point of the company’s growth and momentum was the launch of its iPhone app in November 2013.
“If you see something in a photo that you want, you end up going off to Google, trying to find what you want getting hundreds of results-none of which are very accurate for you and so we started the Hunt to solve that problem,” he said. “How do I find what I want when I see a photo?”
So say you wanted to use the Hunt. How does it actually find what you want?
When you see a photo of the look you want, you take that photo and upload it to The Hunt. You can set a budget-say $100- and you can describe any special needs you have for the look – maybe you need a party dress or you’re going on vacation and that becomes a “hunt.” The app’s community goes off and starts looking for the piece of clothing or things similar to it on then you start getting notifications that people found what you wanted or, at least, something close to it.
The Hunt community consists of shoppers from around the world. About 75 percent are United States shoppers and 25 percent international made up of 100,000 active 13-30 year olds.
“The people that tend to use the app are millennials or the 20-something generation, Weingarten said, but really the app is for anyone who can’t find a look they want similar to what I see in a photo.”
Although the Hunt’s target audience is 90 percent female, on the app there are is a feature called “Style Me” where a person can put up a selfie, describe what they’re looking for- a hipster look maybe- and ask people to style them, seems to be really popular amongst the male crowd that uses the app, Weingarten said.
“We’re finding that more and more guys are using that just to get fashion shopping advice,” he said.
Weingarten said one of the things that gets the team at The Hunt excited and it’s investors excited is that the apps’ users spend 45 minutes to 1 hour a week on the app. They treat it as sort of a game. In fact, many of them call it their fantasy football and the reason is why is because they are solving ‘hunts’ as a form of entertainment and as a challenge.
“What you have is this habit forming game in an area that our users have a lot of passion about which is shopping and fashion,” he said.
The new round of funding will be used for hiring, as the company has doubled its staff since mid-2013, and plans to continue building its team to accommodate its growing user base and a create revenue model that leverages the app’s users intent to buy to monetize the company. Weingarten also said there are substantial product innovations that the team at The Hunt is bringing to market this year as well as building out Android and iPad applications.
“The Series B funding is important because we’re not a cash flow positive innovation,” he said. “We [needed] the funding to hire the team and we need to execute on our vision.”
In the tweets and reviews about the company on the web, the two words that Weingarten said he and his team sees are “addicted” and “love” for The Hunt.
“As someone who came up with this idea and has seen it come to life, there’s nothing more rewarding then seeing people use words like ‘obsession,’ ‘addicted’ and ‘love,’” he said. “That’s just really powerful and that’s what gets me excited everyday to come to the office and build a better product.” (Image credits: The Hunt)