Wantworthy wins $1M to bring ‘want’ button to online shoppers

While speculation builds around Facebook’s plans to release a “want” button, New York-based Wantworthy is moving ahead with a ‘want’ button of its own.

The company, which helps online shoppers build virtual wish lists, is announcing Thursday that it has raised $1 million in seed funding from RRE Ventures, Google Ventures, Quotidian Ventures and several angel investors. With the new funding, the company said it plans to build out its team and focus on product development.

An alum of TechStars NYC, Wantworthy was launched last year by Lauren McDevitt and Josh Wais to enable shoppers to save a list of items they encounter as they surf the web, as well as get feedback from friends.

“I wanted a tool that would let me keep all the products I found as I shopped online in one simple, visual list so that I could compare, organize and take time making my decision,” said McDevitt.

Once users sign up for an account, they can drag a “+WANT” button to the browser’s toolbar and then click it whenever they come across an item online that they might be interested in buying. On Wantworthy, users can see all of the items they’ve saved, organize them into groups, share them and ask friends for opinions on potential purchases.

While people may think of online shopping as a two-step process involving discovery and payment, Wais said they saw an additional step in the middle, which is considering and deciding.

“Unlike at the mall, where browsing and buying happens all at once, we really thought that online, you’re in browse mode and then buy mode. But even when you are looking to buy something, you find different things and you get feedback from other people,” he said. “We wanted to create Wantworthy to own that in-between space.”

To make money, the founders said they would work with retailers to offer promotions and offers to their users. Through the site, retailers would not only be able to learn which of their products their customers are interested in, but what their customers are interested in across the web, they said.

Given the increasing options for shopping online, I think Wantworthy’s ‘want’ button (which is almost like a ‘read it later’ button for purchases) could be useful, especially because, unlike the ‘like’ and share buttons on other social shopping sites, Wantworthy actions are kept private. But shoppers might also find that ‘liking’ or pinning items on their favorite commerce sites, whether it’s Fab, Etsy or a retailer like J. Crew, is sufficient. While Pinterest is seen as more of an aspirational site, some people already use it as a platform for generating virtual wish lists. And retailers, who are already investing time and money into Pinterest, may think they can get good insights about their consumers’ shopping interests from that platform.

But Wantworthy’s founders said they see their site as being more of a practical wish list, while Pinterest and other platforms — including Facebook, if it ultimately does release a ‘want’ button — are more about self-expression.

“Wantworthy is really that dedicated experience where you feel comfortable shopping and saving things that maybe you don’t want all those people to be gawking at,” McDevitt said.