Snaps — a technology company that makes chatbots and emoji keyboards for companies such as Sephora, Nike, Nordstrom and Simon Property Group — is readying for expansion with a $6 million venture capital investment.The start-up raised the Series A round from Signal Peak Ventures. Brandon Tidwell, managing director at Signal Peak, will join the Snaps board. The additional capital, which brings Snaps' total funding to $13 million, will be used to expand its product, sales and customer service teams, as well as open an office in London in January. Snaps is projecting 200 percent growth for 2017. Industry sources said the business is on track to have $15 million in revenue for 2018.Vivian Rosenthal founded the business in 2011. Then, Snaps was making emoji keyboards as a means for brands to have more personal conversations with consumers, Rosenthal said, and eventually evolved to provide other services, like stickers for iOS 10 and chatbots through Facebook messenger. The business is also started to work on voice communication through Amazon's Alexa and Google Voice."We are most interested in what does the next evolution of more personal communication look like?" Rosenthal said. "Voice is a really powerful medium to be able to have a conversation with a brand. We're going to see more and more of that the more pervasive these devices get.""What we built is something we call the conversational marketing cloud," said Jonathan Shriftman, director of business development at Snaps. "It's the first end-to-end solution for digital marketers to help them acquire new customers in messaging, and then increase the lifetime value of those customers through social messaging chatbots and voice [services]."There are two ways to provide personalized information to consumers, Rosenthal noted. One way, a Snaps-powered chatbot could have a potential shopper pick one of three different outfits to get a sense of his or her style and go from there — the other way uses artificial intelligence, natural language processing and algorithms to generated informed responses, she said.Snaps has worked with Sephora and L'Oréal on social messaging projects, according to Shriftman, as well as Coach to build a sticker program where users could create and share personal pinboards via social messaging. The business also developed a digital concierge chatbot for the Simon Property Group that provided details on everything from sales to the Wi-Fi password, and helped Nordstrom build up its messenger users to almost 280,000. Nordstrom has used the messenger option to help with gifting ideas during the holiday season, Shriftman said — for the 2016 holiday season 36,000 links to purchase were sent through messenger.For Nike Jordan, Snaps developed a 30-day workout that saw an "almost 80 percent completion rate," Shriftman said, as well as a "style bot" that drove a 12.5-times higher click-through rate than the global Nike average, according to Snaps. For Dove, the business says it increased purchase intent 278 percent through the brand's "Love Your Curls" campaign.While Snaps provides services to a broad spectrum of categories, it has seen an uptick in fashion and beauty companies looking to use personalized messaging to reach customers, Shriftman said. "We're particularly bullish about beauty, fashion and retail.…we're seeing a lot of demand there, and we're seeing it growing," he said.
Exclusive: @longchamp is planning to stage its first official runway show at New York Fashion Week this fall. The French leather goods firm has expanded into ready-to-wear as part of its repositioning as a lifestyle brand. The show, scheduled for September 8, will also cap the brand’s 70th anniversary celebration. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex undertook their first overseas engagement as a married couple in Dublin. The trip included multiple events and outfits changes, including this black dress by @emiliawickstead that Meghan Markle wore for a party at the British Ambassador’s home. #wwdfashion #royals
At 20 years old – and with an estimated net worth of $900 million - @kyliejenner is the youngest person to ever make @forbes’ annual list of America’s Richest #SelfMadeWomen. “It’s incredible to be recognized for something I’m so passionate about, and I’m really grateful for that. I’ve always loved makeup and worked really hard to bring the first lip kit to the market,” said Jenner on founding @kyliecosmetics. See who else is on the list on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @rainerhosch)
“The collection is inspired by Tulum and the Mayan Riviera – its laid-back luxury, life of cabanas, untouched coastline, natural habitats, exotic cocktails and jungle parties with renowned DJs,” said Matteo Maniatty, creative director and cofounder of @descendantofthieves, on the brand’s inspiration for its latest collection. See more designer sketches and inspirations on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #nyfwmens #nyfw
@riccardotisci17 is releasing a limited-edition capsule collection as part of his anticipated runway debut for @burberry in September. Delivered in a series of instant drops, this is the second Burberry capsule collection announced since Friday, when Tisci broke the news on his collaboration with @viviennewestwood. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
“It’s like a Cinderella story. You get a little fake, you get a little real, you put it together and voilà,” said legendary rapper Slick Rick, who helped pioneer the merge of luxury and streetwear. WWD’s @ariahughes spoke to @therulernyc about his jewelry collection, his collaboration with @bally and how the industry has evolved – link in bio. (📷: @kristaschlueter)
@ragandbone and @eminem are teaming up on a special capsule collection of streetwear pieces. Sold at a one-day pop-up in London’s Soho on Friday, the collection features three different T-shirt designs and a hoodie. The capsule is set to kick off the rest of Eminem’s shows in his European Revival Tour, which ends on Sunday. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdfashion