Little more than a week after venturing into the world of e-commerce with its new party supplies retail arm, Shopping Aisle, digital greeting card startup Punchbowl announced Wednesday that it has raised an additional $1.5 million round of debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. The new funding brings Punchbowl’s total raised to $4 million altogether, with Intel Capital as its largest investor.
CEO Matt Douglas tells me that Punchbowl’s traffic has tripled over the last year and that this year, the number of visitors will be in the “tens of millions.”
As for why the company chose to raise debt versus equity financing, Matt explained: “It's simply an issue of matching the business needs to the right financing. The company is in growth mode, and SVB is a great partner to help us leverage our existing assets and revenue stream.”
Founded in 2007, Punchbowl is best known for its digital invitations and greeting cards business, but its recent move into e-commerce with the launch of Shopping Aisle could turn the site into the go-to place for event planning. I’m really horrible at planning parties, so I love the idea of being able to automate the process of planning my friends’ big milestone birthday bashes while taking credit for it all. By creating the event on Punchbowl, the site will then suggest items based on age, gender, date, location, and theme. The site has over 1,000 party themes to choose from.
With the addition of Shopping Aisle, Punchbowl will likely see a big uptick in revenue, as the site previously relied on sponsorships, advertising, and paying members.
And just in time for Halloween, Shopping Aisle also has over 6,000 costumes to choose from—an interesting offering, since it doesn’t really fall in the “party supplies” category. But the party planning retail space is clearly flexible, so it’ll be interesting to see how Punchbowl experiments with this area.
Matt Douglas also says that the company isn’t ruling out any moves into the non-digital stationary world to compete with the likes of Shutterfly.
“This new funding definitely gives us the opportunity to look for adjacencies to our business,” said Douglas. “There are a number of areas we're looking at in the social expressions and mobile market. I certainly wouldn't rule it out.”
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Punchbowl to help fuel their success,” said Dan Allred of Silicon Valley Bank, in a statement. “The management team has proven that they know how to employ capital efficiently, and we’re looking forward to their next phase of growth.”