Local E-commerce Platform Shopcastr Announces $1 Million Round of Financing, Plans to Expand to New Cities

TORONTO, July 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Shopcastr, a social marketplace for local retailers and shoppers, announced today that it has closed a $1 million round of financing from a group of investors including Mantella Venture Partners (MVP), Salim Teja, David Anderson, James Hou, David Austin, BNOTIONS and the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.  This new investment follows an initial seed investment received from MVP and friends and family last year.

Shopcastr gives local retailers something they have not had - an online platform designed to increase foot traffic into their shops as well as a hassle-free way to sell their products online.

"Increased competition from online stores and the new social shopping habits of consumers are necessitating a greater online presence for local retailers," says Shopcastr founder and CEO, Matt O'Leary.  "This is challenging for retailers as they are universally time-starved and have varying degrees of digital marketing savvy and resources.  Their existing websites are often poorly designed, out of date and tend to generate little traffic."

Shopcastr is a simple-to-use web and mobile platform that empowers retailers to manage their online presence and to display their products beautifully, easily and instantly on the Shopcastr website, as well as through Twitter and Facebook.  The easy to use Shopcastr app allows retailers to move from sign-up to a live store page and product feed in less than one minute.

Investor Salim Teja, who is a respected leader in Canada's start-up and venture capital communities, is very positive about Shopcastr's future.  "Independent retailers have very unique digital needs that until now, have not been effectively met," says Teja, "Shopcastr's remarkably simple to use platform solves their most difficult web-related problems up to and including e-commerce.

Unlike many social shopping sites, there is a strong hyper-local focus on Shopcastr and retailers are able to fully control and maintain their own unique brand presence and personality through customization tools.

Shoppers visiting Shopcastr are able to discover new shops and neighbourhoods in their city.  They can view a live feed of the latest and most unique products and purchase them in-store or online.

Investor BNOTIONS is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD).  Their knowledge of the social marketing space adds strategic value to their investment.

O'Leary's fellow founders are CTO Aron Jones and COO Judy Sims, who was formerly Vice President Digital Media at the Toronto Star and currently serves on Postmedia Network's digital advisory board.  This investment will allow them to build mobile apps for both retailers and consumers, increase consumer awareness of the site and to expand operations into new cities.

Shopcastr is already experiencing excellent traction in Toronto with over 625 shops signed-up and over 12,000 products posted.

About Shopcastr

Shopcastr is a one-of-a-kind social marketplace for local retailers and shoppers.  Our platform is designed to increase foot traffic into shops and also provides a hassle-free way for local retailers to sell products online.  We believe that a healthy local retail community makes neighbourhoods stronger, is good for the economy and better for the environment.

Shopcastr is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and is funded by Mantella Venture Partners, Salim Teja, David Anderson, James Hou, David Austin, BNOTIONS and the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.

Websitehttp://shopcastr.com
Twitter: @shopcastr
Facebook: Shopcastr

About Mantella Venture Partners

Mantella Venture Partners is a $20M early stage investment fund with a hands-on approach to building technology companies in high growth markets.  The fund invests in founders focused on creating market-altering mobile and Internet software businesses, and surrounds them with an ecosystem of passionate, experienced operators that drive early market engagement into sustainable business success.  Mantella Venture Partners is managed by Robin Axon and Duncan Hill, experienced venture investors and company builders who've been involved in multiple successful venture exits to companies including Google, Rogers Media, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Siemens. Additional information is available at http://mantellavp.com/.

About MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund

MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) (Twitter: @MaRSIAF) invests in qualified emerging companies in Ontario using an equity-type instrument. As a critical component of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), the IAF supports the launch and development of innovative businesses in Ontario's priority sectors of advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, cleantech and life sciences. The IAF is funded by the Government of Ontario and delivered by MaRS. For more information please visit http://www.marsdd.com/IAF.

For further information:

For interview requests, please contact: Lu Curran, Director of Marketing, Shopcastr at lu@shopcastr.com or 416.885.5466