October 11, 2013
A simple tweet with hashtags lets you buy. How cool. This is what Chirpify allows its users to do. To buy, just tweet and include appropriate hashtags and your order is placed. Chirpify, a Portland-based startup claims to have developed an application which transforms Twitter from being a broadcast platform to a transaction enabling platform.
Series A, 4/13
Series A, 7/13
$ 4 Mn
Founded in 2011 by Chris Teso, Sell Simply was rebranded as Chirpify and launched in 2012. Chirpify is funded by Upstart Labs, Voyager Capital, with participation from Geoff Entress, Andy Liu from BuddyTV, former Facebook executive Rudy Gadre, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, and TiE Oregon Angels.
Here's how the applications works: A brand displays an advertisement on TV or online with instructions to #Buy #Lays, for example. Then a customer simply posts that campaign tag to their social network and Chirpify processes the order through credit and debit cards, PayPal and ACH payments, charging a flat fee of 2.9%. The payment system is preconfigured with the user’s account at Chirpify.
Chirpify’s app allows brands and consumer to buy, sell, donate and transact through tweets (Hashtags) without leaving the comfort and platform of twitter. Since launch, the startup has seen growing purchases, thanks to the promotional campaign Tweet-a-beer.The campaign resulted in a huge boost of users for the startup, with 2 users signing up per second — an activity which continued for several weeks.
We wanted a way to enable advertisers and their consumers to convert in the moment on their mobile device, no matter what they were doing,' says Chirpify CEO Chris Teso.
Looking at the competitor’s landscape, Chirpify is not the only company in the social e-commerce. A company named GetThis links purchasable content to the television shows watched by viewers (posted in-app via pop ups) and enables users to purchase what they see on screen. There's also Ribbon (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction) and Gumroad (5% + $0.25 per transaction) which are also selling directly to social media users. Chirpify’s service differs by giving businesses an opportunity to leverage hashtags.
BuyReply also has a similar model wherein purchases can be made via Twitter.
The startup already works with brands like Adidas, MasterCard, Widfand for selling merchandises online. Chirpify also offers services to music bands like Green Day for selling songs online. The services have been extended to sell match tickets for NBA’s Portland Trailblazers.
LTP View: Chirpify’s innovative approach of using hashtags for payment is one of the first in the industry. Though Chirpify calls out that the system is PCI compliant, making purchases through social media is still perceived risky. What if Twitter account gets hacked? The biggest question however is whether people will even try to make transactions in the public domain or not. And how many will go ahead and actually make a purchase. Chirpify claims to have answers for these questions.