Soldsie raises $1M to help brands sell on Facebook

500 Startups, FundersClub, and angel investors kick in money to jumpstart this effort

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
March 6, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2df1

For marketers, having a Facebook brand page to attract fans sounds like a must-have. Yet at the same time, most marketers probably still wonder what the real value of a Facebook fan is. That is, of course, unless you can get them to actually buy a product. 

There is one company trying to help brands solve this problem: Soldsie, a San Francisco-based startup that lets brands allow fans to purchase their products through the comment section. I know. I know. That doesn't make sense. How does one make a purchase through the comment section of a fan page? 

Apparently, it's doable. And, venture capitalists and angels think such a service is worthing investing in.

Soldsie, which employs 10 people, announced Wednesday morning that it's raised $1 million in seed funding from 500 Startups, FundersClub, and a number of angels, including former Facebook employees Yun-Fang Juan and Jonathan Ehrlich, Peanut Labs founder Prosper Nwankpa, Elliot Loh and Tom Kelly. 

So what's the value to brands?

The opportunity to increase sales, said Chris Bennett, CEO of Soldsie, in an interview.

"Merchants (small business owners to larger brands) post a photo on their Facebook fan page.

And, in the comment section, fans can post comments, and also use the word "sold" to purchase the item. 

Soldsie is betting that this type of experience will encourage more sales for their brand customers.

"This performs better [than typical shopping carts] because by having people comment on a post, there's a flurry of engagement around the photo in more feeds," said Bennett. "And, if you comment 'sold,' your friends would see that post in their news feed." 

Soldsie currently works with 1500 brands, from small merchants, such as Jenny Boston Boutique to larger brands, such as the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team.

Bennett wouldn't disclose the average sale through its platform, but he did say that Soldsie, which has been in operations since being founded in September 2012, is generating $1 million in sales a month.

Of those sales, Soldsie takes a 3% fee, on top of the PayPal fee. So a merchant will have to pay about 5% to 6% for a product sold through Soldsie.