Australian startup Little Birdie plans to use $30 million from the Commonwealth Bank to become the ‘home page’ of online shopping

  • Australian online shopping platform Little Birdie has welcomed $30 million in new funding from the Commonwealth Bank.
  • The yet-to-launch startup will also integrate with the CommBank app, said CEO Jon Beros, allowing users to set savings goals for specific products.
  • Some 11 million Commonwealth Bank customers will be provided “frictionless” Little Birdie sign-ups when the platform launches in June.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Australian online shopping platform Little Birdie has welcomed a partnership with Commonwealth Bank, which provides the startup with $30 million in new investment funding — and integration with the bank’s own app, which Little Birdie’s co-founder hopes will personalise the online shopping process.

First revealed in December, Little Birdie promises to become a new “homepage” for Australian online shoppers, using trained algorithms to connect would-be buyers with select retailers and an ever-evolving list of trending products.

With Catch co-founders Gabby and Hezi Leibovich serving as minority investors, the yet-to-launch platform has attracted the interest of retailers like Amazon, eBay, the Iconic, and Cotton On, which have signed up before Little Birdie’s June launch.

That online shopping pedigree has translated to investment funding. Commonwealth Bank’s new stake in the company, announced Tuesday, brings the platform’s valuation to a cool $130 million.

But it is the potential to mesh Little Birdie with the CommBank app that most excites Jon Beros, Little Birdie’s CEO and co-founder.

“The funds are great, and the funds will help us grow,” Beros told Business Insider Australia. “But it’s more in regards to the benefit that we’re going to bring CBA customers and vice versa.”

Beros said the deal will allow some 11 million Commonwealth Bank customers to auto-register for Little Birdie through the CommBank app, providing “frictionlesss” access to the shopping platform.

Those users will be presented with personalised deals based on their Little Birdie shopping habits, which they can then translate into saving targets on the app.

“If you’re looking to buy a pair of shoes, you can link to a Little Birdie pair of shoes,” Beros said. “Once you achieve your saving goals, you can click out, go to Little Birdie, and make the transaction.”

“Customers appreciate the relationship between their banking and spending, and are increasingly looking to their bank to help them manage their money and save for their goals,” Commonwealth Bank Group Executive Angus Sullivan said in a statement.

Beros insisted those personalised offers will be generated by the Little Birdie algorithm and Commonwealth Bank’s data engine, but won’t draw information from a user’s Commonwealth Bank transaction history.

“That’s safe within CBA,” Beros said.

Little Birdie will enter a crowded online retail space, turbocharged by lockdown spending and upgraded by ecommerce and social shopping innovations.

Beros said his platform will be different, by virtue of an algorithm which combines price data with a user’s own preferences, presenting deals “just too irresistible to give up”.

Shoppers will also be allowed to vote deals up or down, with Little Birdie using that information to present products a buyer may not have been searching for.

“Every day and in real time, we’ll be saying, ‘What’s the number one? What’s the number 10 to number 200 products in a particular category for that for that particular moment?'” Beros said.

The user-voting feature will be separate from any brand agreements, ensuring the system is not “pay-to-play”, Beros added.

How much business those features will carve away Australia’s $3 billion-a-month online shopping habit is yet to be seen, but with tens of thousands of users purportedly signed up already, and links to the monstrously successful Catch, it is easy to see why the bird is singing.