Trendio, a new video shopping app co-founded by a former Amazon Prime Video executive, is aiming to enhance the beauty shopping experience. The shopping app enables customers to engage with personalized content and seamlessly purchase beauty products through live and recorded videos.
The app is the brainchild of Alex Perez-Tenessa, the former vice president of Prime Video U.S. and head of Beauty at CVS, and startup veteran David Olmos. The pair enlisted Amazon Live alum Julie Novak and former Glossier head of Make-up Category Management Leah Grubb with the goal of creating a platform that reimagines the future of beauty e-commerce by delivering the personalized advice traditionally only found in-store with the efficiency of digital shopping. Grubb now serves as Trendio’s VP of Category Management, while Novak is the company’s VP of Content.
“I had the privilege of running U.S. Prime Video and I saw a number of new technologies related to content creation,” Perez-Tenessa told TechCrunch in an interview. “I saw changes in expectations and behaviors of audiences around the world and that made me see there was an opportunity to leverage all of those technologies to solve a problem I’d seen when I was running beauty at CVS, which was that beauty products are complex. They need to be demoed in order for customers to truly understand their value. And the way that the digital retail environment has evolved has not gone in the direction of making that easier, for both brands and consumers. So I saw an opportunity to leverage video technologies to create a much better way to discover and shop beauty products.”
Trendio provides both live and pre-recorded content from creators to help users make informed decisions about products and brands. Among Trendio’s growing roster of beauty brands are Merit, Philosophy, Ursa Major, Nudestix, Kjaer Weis, Joanna Vargas, Coola and Avene.
The app features a TikTok-like feed where you can swipe through short previews of different products. If you come across a product that you’re interested in, you can tap to watch the full video. You can also watch a live video where you can chat with a creator and other viewers about specific products. Users can browse Trendio’s catalog of videos to see new items or featured brands, along with creator channels and brand stores. When you find a product that you like, you can check out directly in the app. Trendio then makes a commission on every product that is sold on the platform.
At launch, Trendio is available in the U.S. on iOS, Android and Roku. Perez-Tenessa says one of the insights that he took from his time at Amazon Prime Video was that consumers are moving toward connected TV, which is why it was so important for Trendio to be available on both mobile and Roku. Although Trendio is initially only available in the U.S., the company plans to launch the app in additional countries in the future.
All of the content on Trendio is currently manually edited, but in the future the company says the content will be automatically edited using AI. Trendio is currently training and building AI models that will be able to ensure the app surfaces content that is interesting for each specific user.
The idea of live video shopping has taken off in Asia, but it’s still a fairly new and experimental concept in the U.S. Perez-Tenessa believes that in order for the concept to take off in the U.S., it needs to be different from the model in Asia.
“I think the expectation regarding the content that people come across is very high in the U.S.,” Perez-Tenessa said. “It also has to be a combination of live and recorded content. I think that is true to some extent in Asia, but it has to be even more the case in the U.S. People have just tried to just copy the Asian model and copy/paste it into the U.S. I don’t that’s going to work because the relationship to video in the U.S. and in Asia has alway been different. You have to be there for the customers the way they want to consume the content. We think we can give customers that quality and experience that they expect.”
In terms of funding, Trendio closed a $3 million funding round in May that was led by Madrona. Half of the investment went toward product development and creating business relationships. The company will use the other half of the investment next year for continued product development and marketing. Trendio is also planning to raise a Series A in 2023.
Although Trendio is launching in the beauty e-commerce space, the company plans to expand beyond that category in the future. Perez-Tenessa says there is potential for the company to naturally expand into wellness and accessories e-commerce, and beyond.
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