SocialVest, the leading cause-based shopping platform, has raised over one million dollars in a Series A financing round led by Bluff Point Associates.
The funds will be used to further develop the SocialVest platform, a free service that rewards users with cash back for purchases from online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Money earned by SocialVest users can be donated to registered nonprofits, and donations are promoted via social media. SocialVest, which launched in September, previously raised a half-million dollars.
"SocialVest is capitalizing on the intersection of three extraordinarily powerful forces: shopping, consumer consciousness and social media," said Adam Ross, founder and CEO for SocialVest. "Our goal is to create a new paradigm for retail that enables consumers to spend as they would, while simultaneously supporting their favorite causes and motivating their friends to join them. We think the notion of shopping-based 'social giving' is going to be extremely popular."
"Social giving is a fast-growing, incredibly important industry, and SocialVest is the leader," said Bluff Point Associates Managing Director, Neil Gabriele who will join the SocialVest board of directors. "Adam and his team have developed a feature-rich platform that is far more mature than any similar service. The company has aligned itself with top retailers and a wide and growing range of nonprofits. We think this market and the SocialVest business are poised for rapid growth in 2011 and beyond."
Research has shown that 86 percent of consumers believe companies need to focus on their businesses and the community equally. Another study noted that 83 percent of consumers would be willing to modify their purchasing habits to make the world a better place. Respondents identified peer recommendations and authentic corporate social responsibility as top motivating factors when making purchases.
SocialVest has responded by empowering consumers to shop and earn with over 600 leading retailers, including Target, Macy's, Home Depot, Best Buy, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales. Consumers simply sign up at the SocialVest website and begin shopping at its online mall, or at physical stores with whom SocialVest has partnered. To make online shopping ultra-simple, a SocialVest toolbar is also available.
SocialVest users can earn back between two and 10 percent of their total purchase from SocialVest merchant partners. The earned funds are automatically deposited into SocialVest users' online Giving Accounts, and the amount received -- and the retailer's participation -- can be broadcast to users' friends via Facebook, Twitter and other social channels. Donations made by SocialVest users to their favorite nonprofits can also be publicized via social media, raising awareness for important causes and motivating users' friends to get involved. SocialVest allows members to donate to over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States.