British e-commerce startup aisle 3 lands around €290K to become ‘the Wikipedia of product search’

E-commerce startup aisle 3 has completed a successful follow on funding round, raising around €290K via Angel Investment Network, the world’s largest online angel investment network. Aiming to become ‘the Wikipedia of product search’ the business secured the funds in just six weeks with the company’s valuation more than doubling in the past five months. Experienced angel investors have backed the founders’ vision for a new, disruptive e-commerce marketplace offering truly personalised experiences for large networks of engaged shoppers.

This raise is their second completed successfully in just five months, with the company being backed with around €575K in pre-seed funding. It represents an impressive trajectory for a startup born during the height of the pandemic that has been built entirely remotely. Founded in March 2020, aisle 3 aims to give shoppers the complete view of all of their buying options on a single screen, so that they can make purchase decisions based on their personal values such as price, delivery, locality, sustainability or brand loyalty.

Having launched initially within trainers, aisle 3 aggregates retailer offers and rich product information by deploying machine learning and AI algorithms. The team has developed their proprietary web crawler, software and product aggregation algorithms from scratch. The funds will be used towards further developing the brand’s product, tech build and scaling the team.

The co-founders Thomas J. Vosper and James Valbuena have 30+ years of collective ecommerce experience at retailers including Amazon, Tesco, Lastminute, VASHI. In a short space of time they have grown to serve 2,000 organic shoppers each day, have a waiting list of over 600 signed retailers, and 20+ Digital Agencies with more than a million products. The team now employs 15 people across the globe and has recently commenced a huge recruitment drive in India.

It is a remarkable story of resilience after the founders were made redundant at the start of the first lockdown and started the business with a Virgin Start Up Loan. Thomas is due to give a TedTalk on the development of the startup and founder resilience this Spring.

According to co-founder Thomas J. Vosper: We believe shoppers are short changed in getting the best deals despite the illusion of choice on the internet. Whilst it is incredibly easy to book complex products such as car insurance or flights through comparison sites it still remains impossible to find the best deal for the right size trainers without opening multiple tabs and checking a myriad of retailers. We’re trying to crack the three fundamental issues in online shopping. Product comparison, product discovery and a fair marketplace for brands and retailers. Unlike the closed shop of other platforms this is a win/win for shoppers and retailers and offers a huge, positive network effect.”

According to Ed Stephens, AIN’s Global Head of Brokerage: “Our expert ecommerce investors really saw the opportunity in what aisle 3 are creating. The platform represents an innovative step forward offering real choice, at a time when so many more consumers have embraced online shopping. Investors were impressed by the team surpassing all their targets to date and the secret sauce they see as a fantastic opportunity to scale. As well as buying into the promise of the business, investors have all been really impressed with the founding team and Thomas’s leadership. In the face of adversity he has shown the determination and grit investors value, as well as winning media plaudits with a compelling personal story. He has created a potentially huge business from scratch during the pandemic and built a talented team spanning several continents.”