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A Shark Tank for Ecommerce Startups

Television show Shark Tank lets entrepreneurs present their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists to raise money. The world of ecommerce held its own version of the program during NRF’s 104th Annual Convention and EXPO taking place this week in New York.

The Shark Tank-like session featured innovative startups who competed for the title of first-ever Shop.org Digital Commerce Start-up of the Year. Josh Goldman, general partner of Norwest Venture Partners, hosted the session, and the judging panel included Billy May, group VP of ecommerce, digital and direct-to-consumer with Abercrombie & Fitch; Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org; Michael Burgess, president of HBC Digital at Hudson’s Bay Company; Matthew Kaness, CEO of ModCloth; and J. Skyler Fernandes, managing director with Simon Venture Group.

The five finalists, chosen from nearly 100 entries, demonstrated the greatest potential to transform the shopping experience or make a positive impact on the retail industry and consisted of the following companies:

Symphony Commerce – enterprise-level commerce as a service to mid-sized retailers and brands;

Boomerang Commerce – dynamic price optimization platform;

Brickwork – an online platform to engage store customers where they start their path to purchase;

Soldsie – service that allows consumers to purchase products directly from the comments of social media networks like Instagram;

Ziploop – a digital wallet app that allows users to easily transfer paper receipts, rewards, membership cards and gift cards into digital for easy access later.

The five startups gave a presentation and submitted to questions from the panel. Symphony Commerce took home the title, and Boomerang Commerce was the runner-up.

As the winner, CEO and Co-Founder Harish Abbott and his company Symphony Commerce will receive a one-year free membership with the National Retail Federation as well as $5,000 and a complimentary registration to Shop.org’s Digital Summit in 2015. Harish will also be introduced to members of the Shop.org board of directors, which includes senior ecommerce and digital executives from companies including Hudson’s Bay Company, Sur la Table, The TJX Companies and Under Armour.

The session is available for viewing on YouTube.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.