Shopping online for physical merchandise is great but there's always that one problem after you place your order - you have to wait for it to come in the mail. In the case of music, I still prefer an actual CD, so I check it out online, then I buy it at the store.
There's a small Palo Alto, Calif.-based shopping site focused on this very idea that goes by the name of Milo.com, announced this morning it raised $4 million in Series A financing. True Ventures led the round along with a hefty list of angel investors including Ron Conway, Aaron Patzer who recently sold Mint.com to Intuit, Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures, and several others which I'll list at the end of this report.
"Research online, buy offline is projected to represent 40 percent of total retail sales by 2011 - forecasted at $1 trillion - versus e-comerce, which is online 5 percent," said Jon Callaghan of True Ventures.
Although Milo is an online destination, the site wants to get people to buy at their local stores. So for example, a user searches for a product, types in the city they'd like to find it in, and Milo lets returns results showing how much the product is and what local store the consumer can buy it in. How it does this is through the use of real-time inventory feeds which local retailers are starting to have integrated with their online stores.
And it's growing rapidly. Since Milo launched back in December 2008, the startup says it's grown from 2,000 users to 1,000,000 a month, a 70 percent year-over-year increase. Stores are signing up as well, Milo has added real-time inventory for 1.5 million products, growing by an average of 185,000 items per month. And it has indexed 42,000 stores across the country.
I've contacted Milo to find out if they're generating any revenue yet and a clearly idea of what their business plan is exactly. At the same time, the startup is facing competition from the actual big retailers, as many of them these days now feature an option to purchase online and pick up at the local store (like BestBuy.com, image on right).
Milo said it would use the funds to accelerate consumer growth and partnership development. It plans to continue to add more products and stores.
Jack Abraham, CEO and founder of Milo commented, "The round was very oversubscribed, and we're extremely excited to have picked True Ventures and some of Silicon Valley's most prominent angel investors to partner with."
Angel investors include:
Magid Abraham, comScore
Harris Barton, former 49er
Jeff Clavier, SoftTech VC
Ron Conway, SV Angel
Chris Dixon, Hunch, SiteAdvisor
Russ Fradin, Adify
Kevin Hartz, Eventbrite, Xoom, ConnectGroup
Jawed Karim, YouTube
Len Lodish, The Wharton School
Aaron Patzer, Mint.com/Intuit
Keith Rabois, Slide, PayPal, Yelp, LinkedIn, YouTube
Aydin Senkut, Felicis Ventures
Maurice Werdegar, Western Technology Investments