At least two startups — and a long list of prominent investors — are now betting that people will happily put aside any privacy concerns in order to share updates with friends about what they are buying: Swipely has raised $7.5 million in a first round of funding, less than a month after rival Blippy raised $11.6 million in its own round. Both sites connect with users’ bank accounts so that users can automatically share information about their recent purchases; users can also comment about their own buys, as well as those of their friends.
Will it catch on? For now, Swipely is only available by invitation. But Blippy seems to be soldiering forward, even after a major privacy breach in which the credit card numbers of some of its users were posted online (Blippy called the incident “isolated”). The company now says users are sharing $1.5 million of purchases on its site each week.
Swipely was founded by Angus Davis, a co-founder of TellMe, which was sold to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) three years ago for a reported $800 million to $1 billion. Other backers include Index Ventures, Greylock Ventures, First Round Capital, and several angel investors. Blippy counts Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Charles River Ventures, August Capital and Sequoia Capital among its investors.