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Shopcastr closes $1M in new financing, plans roll out in US cities

Like many startups, Shopcastr is learning to roll with the punches.

Founder Matt O'Leary began his adventures in online shopping experimentation in July 2011, with an idea called Hipsell. His idea was to create a "beautiful shopping experience in the classified space"—essentially to "disrupt" existing sites like Kijiji and Craigslist and help users "unleash the power of [their] basements." What he quickly learned, however, is that the stock in people's basements runs out very quickly; it's retailers who have the capacity to meet ongoing consumer demand.

At least, they have the products to do so. Putting those products online, however, isn't the easiest task. Order satisfaction, suppy management, keeping listings updated—there are a host of new tasks that come with opening an online version of your shop, tasks which can be difficult and expensive for small retailers to manage. And so after conducting a series of customer-discovery interviews, O'Leary changed his approach and developed Shopcastr, a platform that enables small Toronto retailers to easily conduct online sales. He's racked up more than 600 participating stores so far, with the help of an initial $150,000 round of seed funding.

Now Shopcastr is planning to take its model of hyperlocal online shopping to new cities. They've just announced $1 million in new financing from a number of investors, including initial backer Mantella Venture Partners (MVP) and the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.

First on the expansion list: sites for New York and San Francisco, which O'Leary is aiming to do by the end of the year. His next Canadian target is Vancouver.

To accomodate this growth, Shopcastr is hiring, hoping to double their current staff complement of six within the year.

"We are in desperate need of some additional support on the tech side more than anything else," O'Leary says; they are looking for at least one more developer and some design talent to start in the coming months.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Matt O'Leary, Founder & CEO, Shopcastr
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