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Slice, The Shopping Companion Powered By Email Inbox Data, Raises $23M From Rakuten & Others
Slice, the technology startup whose mission is to organize all commerce data by tapping into the information buried in your inbox, has closed on $23 million in Series B funding led by e-commerce giant Rakuten, often referred to as the Amazon of Japan. Also participating in the round were Siguler Guff’s Russia Partners andNPD Group, as well as previous investors, DCM, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
With the new investment, explains Slice CEO Scott Brady, the mission was to bring in different perspectives outside Silicon Valley. “We’ve got a very significant Asian company, and we’ve got a very significant European presence now. The goal was…to expand our thinking. But our core mission hasn’t changed. We’re still focused on organizing all the commerce people have,” he says.
Founded in 2010, Slice debuted its first product, “All My Purchases” in May 2011 as an add-on for Yahoo Mail, allowing users to find all their order confirmations and receipts in one spot. The company’s technology has become a lot more sophisticated in the years since. The mobile version of Slice, which launched in late 2011, now offers a similar way to track your e-receipts, but also tracks packages, keeps an eye on your online spending, and watches for price drops so you can request a rebate, among other things. To date, the app has tracked over 90 million items for a total purchase value of nearly $3 billion.
This summer, the company expanded into another vertical with the debut of Goodreads competitor Slice Bookshelf, a social service for readers that digs into both your inbox and Facebook profile data to discover the books you’ve purchased and enjoyed, the latter based on Facebook Likes.
Brady sees Slice as something that plays in the same general space as Google Now, a product that digs into data from Google’s own set of services like Gmail, Calendar, Maps and search history to proactively alert users about information just when they need it. With Slice, however, the company has a narrower focus – commerce – but a potentially wider footprint as it can work cross-platform and cross-”inbox.”
In addition to building its own products in-house, a big part of Slice’s business is in licensing its data through an API. The company today is working with several large companies in various stages of experimentation and integrations, but is announcing that shopping discovery service TheFind is the first to publicly disclose its partnership with Slice. The shopping service has integrated Slice into its iPad app as well as on the web, allowing users to connect their inboxes to track their purchases and help power product recommendations.