TheHunt, a WhatTheFont for fashion site, has received another $700K in funding, on the back of $2m raised earlier this year.  What’s interesting is this provenance of the investment; the entertainment industry, including RedOne – producer for Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. Actor Ashton Kutcher, starring in the upcoming Hollywood Steve Jobs biopic, also invested. Expect to see Gaga, Lopez and other celebrity gear seeded on TheHunt.

Graphic designers will know how TheHunt works from the popular WhatTheFont site. See a font you like but don’t recognise it?  Simply upload an image of the font, and let the community ID the font for you.  TheHunt does exactly the same for fashion – spot something you love in a movie or on the street – just upload a photo and let others ID it for you. Once identified, click through and buy it.  It’s demand-driven social commerce – a more human vision of social commerce that we’re big fans of; the potential to create more smiles than spamming social feeds or shilling friends. And it’s a smart use of distributed collective intelligence, part of our social intelligence – our ability to learn to understand and learn from each other and profit from social situations.

Tim Weingarten, co-founder and CEO of The Hunt says that so far over 200K articles have been ID’d by members, generating 250K e-commerce referrals.  Membership is growing fast 50K per week, now over 200K members.  Conversion rates, according to Weingarten are significantly higher the average for social media sites 1.5-2% vs. 0.1-0.4%.

Of course TheHunt can be gamed; there’s nothing to stop an Etsy seller creating an account and asking where to find the products they’re selling, and then (with another account) find the product on their Etsy store.  Indeed, there are an eyebrow raising number of Etsy products on TheHunt.  But the principle is smart – and the tie in with the world of celebrity fashion is smarter still.  If we were working with TheHunt, or for a competitor, we’d be looking into Shazam or Shazam-style technology, that is soon to include wardrobe data in soundtrack tags.  We think this kind of demand-driven social commerce that harnesses social intelligence represents the long-term future of the industry.



The Hunt