So much of how we see our lives these days is through the lens of our smartphones and the Internet. Social media has revolutionized how we conduct our relationships, and entertainment is forever changed by the advent of streaming media platforms like Youtube and Netflix. And when it comes to shopping, you can find nearly anything on Amazon, and as its supply and delivery network expands, the platform will continue to replace major retail locations as primary shopping destinations. Certainly, the tech industry provides ample opportunities for start-ups who are looking to introduce convenience and efficiency into the way we live our lives. Inspo Network, a Seattle start-up, intends to do just that.
The Inspo Network App, which gets its name from the slang term for an inspirational piece of clothing or other object, is an app available for iOS that partners with brands and content creators to sell clothing, beauty products, fitness products, and more. As the company’s primary revenue stream is in sales, the app essentially functions as a platform for advertising merchandise and streamlining the consumer purchasing experience. The app also allows users to save content for later, and even offers personalized recommendations based on the user’s browsing experience. Currently, the app has an average rating of 4.9/5 stars on the App Store, and user reviews applaud the app for being easy to use and visually appealing.
The design of the app draws heavily from competing platforms like Instagram and Twitter, and presents users with a row of tabs at the bottom of the screen, offering features like viewing favorited images and discovering new channels. The app groups content into particular subcategories like clean beauty, makeup, and skincare, and is advertised as offering an alternative to “social media clutter” for browsing lifestyle-oriented products. As these products are often associated with celebrities or popular figures on social media, the shopping experience on Inspo Network is tightly integrated with these individuals, who can make money from the app by selling items featured in their content. Because the app functions as a platform for creators to showcase a premium line of products, the quality of the content posted via the app is fairly high across the board, differentiating the app from platforms where just anyone can share pictures and videos.
Though the app is relatively new, it faces fierce competition in the form of Instagram, which has recently rolled out a feature allowing high-profile members to sell products in a similar way. Amazon, too, has competed in this space with the Instagram-like Spark, which presented users with a feed populated with so-called “shoppable images.” What Inspo Network has going for it, then, is its focus on the shopping experience and the elimination of distractions normally associated with social media use, coupled with many of the same popular influencers who can be found on a multitude of platforms. Recently, Inspo Network has raised $3 million from venture capital firm Graycroft, which is on top of the $5.5 million the company raised from PSL ventures when it was founded.