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Merging Shopping with Social Sharing Swipely aims to turn people's purchases into an online conversation by merging shopping with sharing.

By Kara Ohngren Prior

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Photo© Jeff Clark

Angus Davis is banking on the notion that shoppers are comfortable with their online friends knowing what they buy. Davis -- co-founder of speech recognition platform Tellme -- founded Swipely in 2009 to create a real, more interactive social experience around shopping. When users swipe their credit or debit card, the transaction shows up on the site for the community to discuss. The site went live last August and already has thousands of members and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of swipes logged, Davis says. "Our vision is to reinvent how people shop," he says. "It's a secure platform for consumers to recommend purchases, discover new places and products, save money and have more fun shopping."

Despite its broad consumer focus, Swipely doesn't make money from users. "We make money from the businesses that people frequent," Davis says. "Using the analytics we track on the site, we work with businesses to implement loyalty programs and special offers for a very targeted set of customers." Because 95 percent of consumer spending happens off-line, Davis says he sees a huge opportunity to help brick-and-mortar merchants tie online marketing to in-person purchase conversion. Users' purchases show up on Swipely. Their friends see a transaction, click through to the retail website and can make a purchase of their own. Swipely takes a cut of that purchase. The Providence, R.I., company has raised $8.5 million in funding from angel investment and a Series A round led by Index Ventures, First Round Capital and Greylock Partners.

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