Social commerce site Polyvore, now cash flow positive, launches mobile app

Polyvore‘s community of fashionistas is finally getting a mobile app of its own. On Tuesday, the five-year-old startup plans to launch a free iPhone app that brings much of the platform’s desktop functionality to mobile.
The new app caps off a year of strong growth for the company, which saw traffic climb 90 percent since the start of the year to 19 million monthly unique visitors. It has increased revenue nearly 2.5x and almost doubled its staff to 55 people in Mountain View and New York. Last June, the company told GigaOM it had reached profitability and, as of the second quarter of this year, it has become cash flow positive, co-founders Jess Lee and Pasha Sadri told me. Earlier this year, the company raised $14 million in funding from Goldman Sachs and others, bringing its total raised to $22.1 million.
“Polyvore is for millions of people around the world who love to express their sense of style,” Lee said. “It’s like a magazine but instantly shoppable and all created by the community.”

Through the site, members can assemble collages of products (called sets) that can be shared with other users. They can also follow other members, “like” each other’s creations and then purchase items from the site. Users can also browse items by category, style, color and other variables, as well as search for specific kinds of items.

Last November, the company launched a mobile-optimized site and, like other e-commerce platforms, has watched its mobile traffic soar. Already, 25 percent of its overall visits come from mobile, Polyvore said. But with the new app, users will be able to do more than they could on the mobile site, such as assemble sets and receive push notifications with messages from other members.
When Polyvore launched in 2007, fewer startups were taking on fashion and social commerce. But over the years, fashion and e-commerce have grown significantly, with the rise of Gilt Groupe and other sites. More recently, social commerce startups, such as Fancy and smaller rivals like Uncovet, have also taken off offering fashion items (as well as other kinds of products) online.

Given that iOS Polyvore users outnumber their Android counterparts by a ratio of three to one, Lee said the company plans to focus on apps for Apple products first (an iPad app is also in the works) and then later launch on Android.