Social commerce innovator Needle has just closed a $10.5 million series B funding round, co-led by Shasta Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners. Prior to this round, Needle raised a series A round of $2 million. Jim Barnett, a partner at Shasta Ventures, and Douglas Schrier, a partner at Rembrandt Venture Partners, will both join Needle’s board of directors. The funds will be used to accelerate the adoption of the company’s social selling platform and to expand its pool of brand experts and fans for its ecommerce clients.
Needle is a fan-sourcing sales platform that provides ecommerce companies the ability to link certified product experts and fans of the brand with customers shopping the site. The product experts then provide guided shopping assistance via chat, video or voice.
In fact, Needle converts some of the most enthusiastic fans in a company’s existing fan base, into brand ambassadors and “sales representatives” training them to sell a company’s product of services from anywhere. This is done via a Guided Shopping platform – Needle’s complete web-based communications platform designed to provide ecommerce shoppers with an in-store shopping experience online. “Needlers,” as they are called, can access the platform anywhere they have an Internet connection, and customers connect with these fans and experts by clicking a banner or invitation on the ecommerce partner’s site.
“The platform Needle has architected over the last two years has the potential to change the ecommerce landscape,” said Jim Barnett, Partner at Shasta Ventures. “Ecommerce companies have been focused on social commerce without a lot of measurable results. Needle’s platform takes fans and experts from places like Facebook and literally puts them to work by inserting them into the sales process.”
According to Needle reports, customers who utilized this model saw dramatic improvements to site performance, doubling their ROI through increased sales conversion rates, better customer retention and improved Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Needle’s clients each have NPS scores higher than 72 percent, compared to an industry average of 47 percent.