Atlanta-Based DesireList Closes Funding Round
Thursday, March 14th, 2019
DesireList, a disruptive media company focused on delivering personal stories and authentic product reviews from real professionals, has secured $3 million in seed funding. The investment round was led by brand and media industry veterans, including Don Thompson, former CEO of McDonald’s; Sonny Vu, former president and CTO Connected Devices at Fossil Group and John Brenkus, creator and host of the 6x Emmy award winning show “Sport Science.”
DesireList has created a platform that connects consumers to real professionals giving exclusive access to hear their path to Pro as well as discover and shop the products they genuinely use and recommend. The brand showcases video content featuring NFL athletes, top models, celebrity fitness trainers, wellness experts, make-up artists, stylists and dancers, sharing inspirational stories of success and adversity on their journeys to greatness. These professionals have access to the top products available on the market, and the DesireList platform allows them to share the ones they find work the best. This maximizes the value of their influence and builds data-driven partnerships with the brands they already love, while giving consumers detailed information on products they can trust.
The company hits the market as the retail industry is in a state of flux; global e-commerce sales are topping $2 trillion per year, but with this online demand brings an onslaught of fake reviews designed to manipulate consumers. Third-party auditors, Fakespot and ReviewMeta, separately report that more than half of all reviews for certain popular products are questionable or inauthentic. Despite this, a recent survey from Podium found 60 percent of consumers still look at online reviews each week, with 93 percent saying online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
“In today’s everchanging landscape, brands are looking for a disruptive impact to address online demand. As e-commerce continues to dominate sales, brands desperately need a solution that enhances the user experience, while providing credible direct-to-purchase product content,” shared Sonny Vu, former president and CTO Connected Devices at Fossil Group and founder of Alabaster, a startup advisory and investment company. “DesireList’s high-quality videos, reputable professionals, inspirational stories and authentic reviews are exactly what consumers want, and brands need.”
DesireList was created to disrupt the current online review process, by providing a platform for Pros to share authentic and transparent reviews of the products they genuinely use and recommend. Eschewing traditional influencer marketing methodologies and unsavory e-commerce initiatives to drive new growth in a volatile industry, DesireList connects verified professionals, consumers and brands in a trustworthy, video-led environment. Online shoppers can be confident the advice they are receiving is genuine through a model that is poised to have a real impact on brand engagement and sales. DesireList’s seed round of funding reflects optimism from veterans in brand and media.
“We are encouraged by the caliber of brand and media industry executives who understand and support our mission,” said Eric Sheinkop, co-founder and CEO of DesireList. “They represent an incredibly accomplished group of brand leaders who know firsthand the challenges of the industry, and who believe DesireList presents an opportunity for brands, professionals, and consumers to connect in more meaningful and authentic ways.”