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Techcrunch reports today that Diego Berdakin and MySpace co-founder Josh Berman are launching a new social commerce venture, Beachmint Inc, with $5m of funding from New Enterprise Associates and Anthem Venture Partners.

Whilst there’s nothing startling about a new cocktail of smart minds, smart money and social commerce, Beachmint will offer a novel twist on social commerce – adding some celebrity sizzle into the social recommendation mix.

Whilst the bedrock of social commerce, anonymous customer reviews, provides a democratic ‘social proof’ of product or service quality, and whilst tapping one’s social graph to ‘friendsource’ advice can make social commerce more personal (relevant and trustworthy), wouldn’t it be useful (and fun) to have your choices informed by celebrities and experts as well?

The idea, according to Berman, is to drive people to curated, authentic choices with recommendations from celebrities and other ‘influencers’ – much like private sales event organizer Gilt teaming up with Vogue with Shop the Issue, or fashion stylist Kim Kardashian’s association with ShoeDazzle.  The goal appears to be to set up a series of curated social commerce sites focused on a particular ‘vertical’ (e.g. TechMint, WineMint) that offer the voice of the celebrity expert into the mix as well as customer reviews and opinions from friends.

We think the Beachmint idea is smart, and part of a trend that Peter Sheldon of GetElastic calls the “convergence of content, community and commerce,” with the content in this case of the curated kind and comprising the opinions of celebrities and influencers (industry experts).

Beachmint also an interesting PR play on social commerce – expect PR agencies, now their land-grab of social media is well underway, to venture into the social commerce space with their little black books of glitterati contacts.

If you’re a Magento expert, fond of Santa Monica and want in, Beachmint are recruiting.

How could your brand use a creative combination of customer reviews, social plugins and the voice of celebrity to drive traffic conversion and order value?

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