A number of fashion-tech startups have been applying Tinder's "swipe to like" format to shopping apps, and it seems that investors also see potential in the idea, too. The Edinburgh-based Mallzee has raised a $844,000 round of venture capital funding from a number of Scottish angel investors including Par Equity, Scottish Investment Bank, SkyScanner CEO Gareth Williams and Rob Dobson of Miituu.
For those who haven't used the app, Mallzee presents the user with a stream of image cards. As with Tinder, you swipe right if you like an item and might want to buy it later and swipe left to dismiss it. The idea is to be a discovery platform for fashion, and flicking through products is both easy enough to do while waiting two minutes in the line at Starbucks and addictive enough to do for 40 minutes while watching "Game of Thrones."
The Mallzee team is currently at work on the second version of its app and plans to release it by August, having launched its first last December. Mallzee aims to differentiate itself from its competitors in its focus on filtering by color, style and product category before the user even starts swiping, so the update has a lot to do with making the process of sorting through the 40,000 products in the app's system more efficient.
The vast majority (roughly 80 percent) of Mallzee's current user base is based in the UK, but the startup is hoping to take its app in an increasingly international direction by onboarding more U.S., Canadian and South African retailers. Most recently it added Saks and Nordstrom to its mix as affiliate partners; in some cases Mallzee works directly with the retailer.
As we've noted before, the app has a lot of bells, whistles and search tabs on it currently, and it would do well to pare down its aesthetic somewhat. The trick there will be to not compromise the utility of its filtering system. But isn't that always the challenge for designers?