Retrevo Secures $8 Million to Give Consumers Control of Finding, Buying and Using Electronics
Funding to Meet Rising Demand to Simplify Consumers’ Experience with Electronics
March 20, 2008 – Sunnyvale, Calif. – Retrevo, Inc., the matchmaking service between consumers and electronics that simplifies people’s relationship lifecycle with electronic products, today announced it has secured $8 million in a second round of institutional funding. This round was led by Alloy Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) and will be used for product development, partnership expansion and consumer marketing.
"The consumer electronics purchase process can be daunting to the average consumer not because of an absence of information and recommendations, but rather the overwhelming, unorganized, and often contradictory advice that exists in retail channels, on the Internet and via word-of-mouth," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates, an internationally recognized consumer technology research firm. "Retrevo's role in organizing and summarizing the key research, opinions and comparisons of consumer electronics products will grow in importance as consumers seek the best available information in making a purchasing decision."
"With the proliferation of electronics products, features and required knowledge, it has become extremely difficult for electronics retailers to keep up and guide consumers effectively. Consumers want simple, objective and honest advice and are turning to Retrevo for empowerment,” said Vipin Jain, CEO of Retrevo. “Retrevo aims to become the site that consumers can trust to get all their electronics products information in the simplest and visually intuitive forms. Over the last 12 months we have quadrupled our users and their engagement - a strong validation that consumers are demanding control and simplification and Retrevo is the place where they can get it. Closing funding from top notch investors Norwest Venture Partners and Alloy Ventures is a testament to the confidence they have in our team, the technology and the vision.”
Retrevo has created a totally new paradigm for how consumers find, buy and use electronics. The Retrevo Product Advisor is the first of its kind that empowers consumers to not only find products with the best community sentiment but also shop for products by value and find those products that deliver the best bang for the buck. Consumers quickly gain knowledge and confidence before walking into a retail store or purchasing products online.
For example, consumers may find it interesting that while the Apple iPod grabs all the attention, Retrevo’s product advisor actually lists the Cowon D2 as the top MP3 player by value and overall community sentiment.
Retrevo also helps consumers decide when it may not be the best time to buy, such as with high definition DVD players. While Toshiba and NEC have folded their HD DVD format, finding good values on Blu-ray DVD players from Sony, Panasonic, Philips or others are still few and far between.
“We seed funded Retrevo two years ago because they were solving an acute consumer problem,” said Ammar Hanafi, a general partner at Alloy Ventures. “During this time of economic uncertainty, consumers are at a crossroads. On one hand, they want their dollar to go as far as possible when considering electronics purchases. On the other hand, they want to get the most out of the products they already own. Retrevo solves this conundrum by offering value-based shopping and support advice for products in one place. Retrevo is the only website that covers the full lifecycle relationship between consumers and electronics. This significant up-round demonstrates our confidence in Retrevo’s management leadership, its intellectual property, success and the market opportunity.”
“Generation after generation, electronics products have become more complex leaving consumers inundated with confusing product options and constantly changing information from more fragmented sources than ever. The average consumer can’t keep up with the information overload or make any sense of it all,” said Matthew Howard, general partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “Because of Retrevo’s AI technology and deep coverage of electronics information, they are the only company that can scale and keep pace with the dynamics of consumer electronics products. This gives them a strong defensible position and long-term competitive advantage. Because Retrevo meets a significant mainstream consumer need, it also opens up completely new business opportunities for partners and advertisers to engage their audiences in a much more personalized way.”
Retrevo is playing in a sector with huge market opportunities. The January 2008 Nielsen Global Online Survey on Internet shopping habits showed more than 94% of the U.S. online population shopped on the web in 2007 with over 23% of purchases being consumer electronics. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that total CE revenues in the U.S. for 2008 will hit $170 billion dollars with the average household spending over $1,600 on CE products. “With electronics products so much a part of everyone’s lives and increasing by the day, that equates to more than 200 million in this country alone that Retrevo can help,” added Jain.
Retrevo is the first matchmaking service for people and electronics that makes finding, buying and using electronics products simple and fun. Retrevo’s AI based service aggregates, classifies and summarizes relevant information on electronics products from both industry and social media sources including publishers, manufacturers, retailers, social networks, blogs, user reviews and even from inside Adobe PDF manuals. Consumers are presented with objective advice and answers in visually simple and actionable forms that give them the confidence and control throughout their entire electronics products relationship lifecycle. For more information, please visit www.retrevo.com.
About Alloy Ventures
Alloy Ventures invests primarily in seed and early stage companies in information technology and the life sciences. The firm's total committed capital under management exceeds $1 billion, including $368 million committed to Alloy Ventures in 2005. The firm's partners have been founders and CEOs of successful start-ups, officers of large companies, and have decades of venture capital experience. The firm offers entrepreneurs the experience, connections and capital necessary to build lasting, market-leading companies. For more information, please visit www.alloyventures.com.
About Norwest Venture Partners
Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a global venture capital firm that has actively partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 45 years. NVP focuses on investments in information technology including: software, services, enterprise and communications systems, semiconductor/components and Internet, media and consumer. The firm currently manages more than $2.5 billion in venture capital out of its office in Palo Alto, California. For more information, please visit www.nvp.com.
Retrevo is a trademark of Retrevo. The Apple iPod is a trademark of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.