Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Finland’s Starcart raises €3.5M to put all your online shopping in one basket

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Ever sat down to quickly browse and buy something online only to find yourself three hours deep, no decision made and twenty tabs open? Well, let me tell you, you are not alone. For some of us, online shopping can be painful. It’s this pain that Finnish AI-powered e-commerce platform Starcart has decided to take away. 

Swooping down upon us like an angel sent from the shopping gods, Starcart does all the heavy lifting, and obsessive searching, for us. It searches for the best price and delivery costs of items and adds them all to just one shopping cart. Starcart automatically makes the purchases for us, we pay Starcart just one bill, regardless of how many stores the shopping cart items come from, and we head off and live our best lives, with a little extra time on our hands.

How does it make all those purchases for us? Yes, that is the rather tricky bit, but as it happens Starcart is also licenced as a payment platform. It partners with Visa and issues its own cards, those cards are then used by Starcart to purchase the items from the online stores. Of course, bots are doing the purchasing, so the real difficulty in building such a company is building bots so good at online shopping (minus the indecision, of course!) that they are always mistaken for a human, and then you need to have the ability to scale that tech. 

Starcart was founded in 2021 and has just raised a €3.5 million Seed funding round. The round is led by Inventure and includes participation from Business Finland and angel investors. Already serving the online shopping community of Finland, since launching in 2022, the fresh funding will enable Starcart to scale operations and look for new markets across Europe with a 2024 date in the diary. 

“Starcart’s insane metrics speak for themselves. The potential here is absolutely enormous, and the Starcart team is well on their way to rebuilding and redefining the online shopping experience in Europe,” says Lauri Kokkila, partner at Inventure and an early investor in the company.

“The reception has been overwhelmingly positive, with customer satisfaction at 4.5 out of 5 stars. The feedback from merchants has also been very positive, with the low barrier of entry into the platform especially appreciated,” says Pasi Ilola, founder and CEO of Starcart. “In the near future, we’re planning to also make it easy for consumers to shop sustainably, by introducing second-hand stores and recommending sustainable products and shipping method options for our customers. We’re rapidly headed toward our ultimate vision, which is making Starcart the only shopping tool you’ll ever need. And this seems to be something that people really want, as it makes their everyday lives easier.”

Main image: Starcart team. Photo: Uncredited.

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