Social commerce may not get any easier than Chirpify.
The two-month-old startup allows people to buy and sell digital goods using nothing but tweets by linking Twitter and PayPal accounts. Now a new round of funding will help the company take its simple service to musicians, record labels and everyday people.
The Portland, Ore.-based company announced Tuesday it has raised $1.3 million in series A financing from Voyager Capital, angel investor Geoff Entress, BuddyTV CEO Andy Liu, former Facebook executive Rudy Gadre, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes, and TiE Oregon Angels.
The company is targeting artists and music companies who can use the platform to sell MP3s and concert tickets. "The opportunity for us is huge because we think we can cut out some business from Ticketmaster and iTunes," Chirpify CEO Chris Teso told Billboard.biz earlier this month. Chirpify is also focusing on solutions for brands, individuals and small businesses.
The platform is easy to use. The digital item -- whether it's an MP3 or a PDF of a concert ticket -- is uploaded using the Chirpify user's dashboard. A tweet is sent out with instructions on how to buy the item, such as "Reply with the word 'buy' to purchase our new EP for $4." Sellers can also offer physical goods and integrate with some existing ecommerce storefronts, including Magento, for order fulfillment.
Chirpify is even easier from a buyer's point of view. After replying to a tweet or retweet with the word "buy," Chirpify will deduct the amount of the item from the user's PayPal account and send a secure buy link. Someone who replies "buy" but isn't a member will receive a reply that includes a link to sign up. Creating an account and linking a Chirpify and Twitter account takes less than 30 seconds.
A couple things make Chirpify special. First, it's ideal for mobile phone users because it does not require opening an additional app or Web page to complete a transaction. Second, the service can be used by any two people to send money to one another via PayPal. This combination of ease of use and scalability could provide Chirpify a powerful first-mover advantage and give it an install base large enough to fend off future competitors. Of course, the devil will be in the details and execution, but right now the company is starting off with a product filled with potential.
The service is affordable but not free. For direct payments, Chirpify collects a 2% fee on top of the PayPal fees. For its commerce plans, the company charges a 4% fee on its free, basic service tier and takes no fees on its paid, enterprise-level service. The commerce plans give sellers such features as e-commerce platform integration, support, the ability to schedule tweets and back officer order fulfillment integration or sales repots in the comma-separated values (CSV) format.