Social commerce startup Moontoast has closed a $6 million round of funding from existing investors. Nashville-based The Martin Companies led the round.
Investors see a big opportunity in social commerce. "We believe there is a fundamental shift occurring in digital commerce," said Les Wilkinson, Managing Director of The Martin Companies and a member of Moontoast's Board of Directors, in a statement. "Consumers expect opportunities for engagement and commerce to be delivered to them and brands are struggling to determine how best to respond."
Social media platforms such as Facebook are immature sales channels. But many experts predict social commerce will develop quickly in the coming years as better tools are developed and companies become more experienced. A recent Booz & Company forecasts social commerce will grow from $5 billion to $30 billion globally by 2015 -- $14 billion of that in the U.S. alone.
Moontoast offers tools that enable people to sell goods by taking advantage of social media. Moontoast Impulse is a Facebook application that lets consumers buy directly within the application and without the need to navigate to another page. Like other Facebook apps, Moontoast Impulse taps into the viral nature of social networks to spread the word of a product or on-sale event. Moontoast's Distributed Store gives sellers tools to create a storefront and distribute it to social networks, blogs, ad networks and affiliate sites.
Moontoast, named to Billboard's Top Music Startups of 2011, had previously raised $1.5 million in this $6 million round, according to a December 21 SEC filing. Prior to that the company had raised in the "low millions-of-dollars" from a variety of investors, CEO Blair Heavey told Venture Nashville Connections in February 2011.