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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3138 - August 26, 2013 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 5

Ecommerce Giant Rakuten Invests in Slice

By Ina Steiner
August 26, 2013

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Rakuten made some acquisitions that propelled it into becoming a global ecommerce powerhouse. Along the way, it has made some interesting investments as well, including social networking site Pinterest. Last week it opened its wallet to another interesting opportunity: it led a $23 million funding round in Slice.

Slice says its vision is to create "fun and useful apps that draw from the wealth of information buried in our inboxes to improve daily experiences." Basically, Slice dips into users' email mailboxes to extract data about their purchase history from Amazon, eBay, Apple, Groupon, LivingSocial and other retailers and uses that data to provide information back to the user in various, presumably helpful, ways.

Last year, eBay used Slice to power a tool called Stuff by eBay that scanned users' emails (past emails and ongoing) and compiled a list of all the items they'd ever purchased. The tool was developed by a group of eBay developers based in Tel Aviv.

Slice said its popular flagship app, Slice, "provides a simple way for consumers to manage all their purchases, organize receipts, track shipping, take advantage of price adjustments and improve their shopping experiences."

Will Rakuten gain insight into what consumers are purchasing thanks to its investment in Slice?

In response to EcommerceBytes inquiry, a spokesperson said, "basically, yes, it's very early so there hasn't been much discussion about partnership details or if we'll be cross-pollinating with Rakuten. I do know they view this first and foremost as an investment."

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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