While consumers are increasingly turning to Amazon to buy everything from home goods to electronics, a newly launched app called Dote believes there’s an opportunity to compete with the e-commerce giant’s fashion business.
There are “brands that don’t want to put their stuff on Amazon because it degrades their brand,” claims founder and CEO Lauren Farleigh. Further, she adds, “We know that users don’t want to download 20 different apps” to access all their favorite fashion lines.
Her solution is a mobile shopping app that curates from brands like Sephora, Victoria’s Secret and Gap in what the company calls a virtual mall.
Farleigh believes that this design will have appeal to young women, particularly between the ages of 15-35. Some notable investors are buying her vision, with Lightspeed Venture Partners leading a $7.2 million round in the company. Part of the money was secured on Apple’s “Planet of the Apps” startup show.
“When we saw the engagement and session times for Dote and heard from users, we saw that it had created the ‘shopping as entertainment’ experience on smartphones for millennial and Gen Z women,” says Jeremy Liew, a partner at Lightspeed. “We believe that young women are the early adopters of popular culture.”
Dote users download the free app, then they are asked to select their favorite brands to be notified about sales and offers. Users are shown curated trends, though there’s also a social component where they can show friends what they’re buying.
The company takes an undisclosed share of the transaction revenue when a brand’s products sell through the app.
Dote won’t share how many users they have yet, but it claims that the average user is coming back 15 times per month. Farleigh says this activity helps the company build data about consumption habits and that its algorithms can “determine what you’re most likely to buy.”
The company is competing in what’s become a fast-growing category. BI Intelligence estimates that mobile shopping will account for fully 45 percent of U.S. online purchases by 2020, or $284 billion.
Farleigh says Dote will use its new funding for hiring at its San Francisco headquarters, as well as to expand its retail partnerships.