Donde Search has just closed a $6 million Series A investment led by Matrix Partners, with participation from previous investors such as senior leaders from AliExpress, Google and Waze.
Donde first launched in 2014 as a consumer-facing app that helped users search and discover apparel items based on visual characteristics rather than text-based searches. In early 2018, the company pivoted to the enterprise space, helping retailers power suggestions and related items on their websites.
Here’s how it works:
Retailers partnered with Donde hand over their product catalog and run it through the Donde algorithm, which identifies all the visual features associated with each product. Retailers can then add a widget to their site to let users search based on those features (like sleeve length or type, color or material).
As users interact with the products, the website adapts to that behavior to offer personalized product recommendations and related items.
Moreover, Donde offers an analytics dashboard that not only provides insights on the customer’s own website, but a look into trends being featured on competing e-commerce websites to understand the industry in general.
Donde was founded by Liat Zakay, who previously served as a software engineer and R&D team manager in the Israeli intelligence unit 8200. Using her technical expertise, she built Donde to solve her own problem of not having the time or energy to go through the tedious process of online shopping.
Zakay told TechCrunch that Donde is focused on apparel for now, but that the technology can be applied to almost any vertical.
“One of the interesting pieces about Donde is that it’s language agnostic,” said Zakay. “You don’t need to know what it’s called and it doesn’t matter what language you speak, you can still find what you want based on visual features. Which makes us extremely relevant to global retailers.”
The new funding, which will be used to expand the product and the team, came shortly after the announcement of Donde’s partnership with Forever 21. The fast-fashion retailer tested out the Donde platform on its mobile app and, after a month, saw a 20 percent increase in average purchase value and higher conversions. Forever 21 has now expanded the program, putting Donde on the web, as well.
Donde said it is working on pilot programs with several other retailers across the U.S. and Europe.
Fast fashion, in particular, represents a big opportunity for Donde. Because product turnover is so fast, retailers rarely have reliable data around a certain SKU, with the website being run on outdated data from last “season.”
This latest round brings Donde’s total funding to $9.5 million, with backing from UpWest, Afterdox and Golden Seeds.