The Fancy raises $26M for Pinterest-like marketplace

Faith Merino · October 29, 2012 · Short URL:

Company adds PPR CEO and AmEx Chairman to board of directors

Just this past summer, there were rumors of acquisition talks between Apple and Pinterest rival, The Fancy.  Now it looks like those talks have come to naught, as The Fancy has just raised $26 million in equity financing, according to an SEC filing.

The company could not be reached for comment, so it’s not clear how The Fancy plans to use the new funds.  But the filing shows that American Express Vice Chairman Ed Gilligan is now on Thing Daemon’s (The Fancy’s parent company) board of directors, as is PPR CEO Francois-Henri Pinault.

The Fancy has previously raised $18 million from the likes of such big names as Jack Dorsey, Esther Dyson, Celtics owner Jim Pallotta, Maynard Webb, Chris Hughes, Marc Andreessen, and Ben Horowitz, as well as VC firm General Catalyst Partners and investment bank Allen & Company.  Francois-Henri Pinault’s PPR, which owns such high-fallutin’ brands as Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Gerard-Perregaux, invested $10 million into The Fancy last year, which reportedly boosted The Fancy’s value to $100 million.

It’s kind of a shame—Apple could’ve gone places with The Fancy, which is essentially a reconfigured Pinterest with a stronger e-commerce foundation.  The site lets users upload and share images of cool items, and “fancy” those items that they want.  Sound familiar?  Where it departs from Pinterest is in users’ ability to purchase items directly from the site.  Say, for example, you have a pair of Jimmy Choo torte platform pumps that you want to sell.  You can actually bid an image so that when someone searches for Jimmy Choo torte platform pumps, they have the option of purchasing them from you. 

Could you imagine a marketplace like that in the hands of Apple, which already has everyone’s credit card information stored in iTunes?  You could have hundreds of millions of iOS users buying from and selling to one another.  At the very least, it would’ve given Apple a clear route into e-commerce so that developers could tap into that magic.

But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. 

The Fancy originally got its start as Thing Daemon in 2010, when CEO and co-founder Joe Einhorn started the company as a database of things.  In February 2012, the company honed in on e-commerce and launched the Fancy engine.  As of July, the company had some one million members and was grossing an average of $10,000 a day in sales

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