BuyReply Raises $1 Million From Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures & Others For An SMS, Email & Twitter-Based E-Commerce Solution
BuyReply Raises $1 Million From Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures & Others For An SMS, Email & Twitter-Based E-Commerce Solution (Original)
BuyReply, a company that has developed a new platform for e-commerce that allows consumers to purchase items from offline medium, such as TV, print, newspapers and more using email, SMS, or Twitter, has raised $1 million in seed funding, from Peter Thiel’s international fund Valar Ventures, along with Square Peg Ventures (Paul Bassat, founder of SEEK), Adrian MacKenzie, and others.
Based in Australia, the buying process BuyReply introduces allows consumers to bypass visting an e-commerce website to make their purchases. Nor do shoppers have to download and install a mobile application to their phones or tablets to shop, either.
Instead, here’s how the system would work:
For example, a TV ad could broadcast a message informing viewers to “text headphones to 0400 100 100″ in order to buy a new pair of headphones being advertised.
A similar message could appear in printed medium, like newspapers, catalogs or magazines, radio, store fronts, or anywhere else where a merchant may have a chance at inciting a purchase. Users respond to the ad however the advertiser wants to promote it – SMS, email, Twitter, QR code, etc.
BuyReply, meanwhile, sits in the middle of the interaction. The customer only needs to provide their information the first time, then for all other purchases on the platform, their details are recorded. This offers a so-called “one-click” buying experience on web and mobile without apparently infringing on Amazon’s patent for the one-click checkout.
When consumers first sign up to use BuyReply, the site asks them to verify their mobile number by sending a six-digit, one-time passcode, and a link to click. Payments are only processed after customers verify links sent to them via messages following their purchases.
However, before any of this is possible, the customer must initially set up their virtual wallets here. This can be done at the time of first purchase, though. This virtual wallet concept is similar to the offerings from Visa’s V.me, MasterCards’s PayPass Wallet, Amex’s Serve, and others. In early tests, BuyReply has seen up to 25 times engagement with its service versus other app-based technologies, the company claims.
The platform is available in USD, CAD and AUD and offers text-to-buy capabilities in all three currencies, founder and CEO Brad Lindenberg informed us.
“We support payment gateways including Stripe, Authorize.net, PayPal, eWay, SecurePay and TNS. We also support integration into Magento,” he notes.
Pricing is per transaction, and is currently 5 percent plus 15 cents per transaction (USD) with no monthly fee, or 3 percent plus 15 cents per transaction for $99 per month. Enterprise and high-volume pricing is also available. The first number for text-to-buy pricing is also free, while each additional is $10/month.
The company, founded in late 2011 and launched last year, is using its funding to build up a team and move further into the U.S. market. “We will be keeping our engineering base in Australia but cannot afford to ignore the opportunities that exist in the U.S. market,” Lindenberg says.
To some extent, BuyReply will compete with other startups that have, so far, focused primarily on selling via social media, including Ribbon, Chirpify or Soldsie, for instance. But BuyReply is different as it’s only targeting Twitter (at least, for now), in terms of making the purchase, not necessarily as the place where the ads are originally promoted.
BuyReply has also appointed Bonnie Boezeman AO, who spent the last six years as Chairman of PayPal Australia, as a director.
Interested merchants can sign up for BuyReply’s free trial here.