David Tisch is an angel investor who has poured money into more than 100 startups through his fund, Box Group, including Fab, Flat Iron Health, Harry’s and KitchenSurfing.
But now he’s learning what it’s like to be an entrepreneur as Chairman and co-founder of a new shopping app, Spring.
Spring, which raised a $US7.5 million seed round, launched today as a scary-easy way to shop on your phone. When you browse the app, it looks like Instagram, with lifestyle photos rather than product shots, only every item can be immediately purchased. Spring acts like Seamless or Grubhub as a referral-only engine, taking orders then sending the requests to the companies who handle inventory, shipping, returns and exchanges just like they would if you were to buy from the site directly. It’s a business that will need mass scale to work, which is why Spring has quietly signed up more than 100 partnering brands pre-launch. Tisch’s wife owns a clothing line, Zara Terez, and she was one of the first brands on-boarded. Top-tier designers are on Spring too, like Rebecca Minkoff and Helmut Lang. There are 350 more brands who have agreed to join Spring and will be unveiled on the app over the next few months.
On Spring, users upload credit card information, sizes and shipping addresses only once. The app stores everything so check-out is as simple as swiping left to right on a buy button for every purchase after. There’s also no shopping cart; Spring is has worked out an agreement with many of its partnering brands to get rid of shipping fees in lew of lower transaction fees on the backend. Products can be quickly scrolled through, enlarged, then swiped away to continue browsing. It’s the closest thing to window shopping you can get on a mobile phone.
Spring isn’t the first Pinterest-like company to make everything on its site available for purchase. Wanelo is a popular shopping engine where every beautiful image can be purchased on the site. Loverly is a Pinterest-like site for weddings where items for purchase are clearly labelled. But neither is a one-swipe solution. On Spring, it takes one second to buy an item while perusing, making it a mobile solution for impulse buying.
Tisch co-founded Spring with his younger brother Alan, early Beachmint executive Ara Katz, and former Googler Octavian Costach. They have 12 engineers working on the product from their New York City office.
“There has been a lot of talk about mobile being the future of commerce, but shopping on your phone was a clunky experience,” Tisch says of Spring’s origins. “We were frustrated by having to download multiple apps and visiting mobile optimised e-commerce sites that still had archaic checkout systems. So we built Spring to create a mobile experience where customers can shop directly from the brands they love and also discover new ones, all in one seamless experience.”
When asked how running a startup compares to investing, Tisch tells Business Insider: “It’s the scariest thing in the world. As an investor, you’re backing lots of things. There’s only one thing here that we’re doing. If it doesn’t catch…” he pauses, and never finishes the sentence.
Here’s what Spring looks like:
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