Fantasy Shopper

Chris and Dan are the founding members of Fantasy Shopper.

Reality of global success for Fantasy Shopper

A company which offers a social network for shoppers and launched just last October, will move into the American market within the next few weeks.

Fantasy Shopper, which was the brainchild of former student Chris Prescott has already secured over $3 million of investment and won a number of prestigious and lucrative awards. All this from a small office based within the University of Exeter.

Fantasy Shopper is the very latest in web gaming with commercial benefits for retailers. Participants can ‘shop’ in stores within a number of cities including London and New York, browsing the latest fashions. They can use their virtual money, or make real purchases. People can vote on others’ outfits or shop for the best bargains, using the 300 brand names already on the site. The selling point of Fantasy Shopper is that this is the real deal – the clothes they see, the bargains they are searching for all actually exist in those stores.

It is ultimate ‘try before you buy’ for shoppers – the chance to put together outfits without setting foot in the store. It is also a virtual shop window for stores and a data collecting tool, with gaming thrown in. As well as showing their latest collections, it gives companies commercially valuable information on what is likely to sell well.

Chris, who studied Computer Science, first came up with the concept of Fantasy Shopper in 2010.

“The last few months have been incredible and we are now really looking forward to taking Fantasy Shopper to the United States,” he said.

“I  wanted to create a Facebook game which fashion lovers could share with their mates and a wider audience,” he said. “We’ve also found that people who are less confident about their image are using it too – they can put together an outfit and get feedback on it before they commit to buying it, or more importantly wearing it out!”

Fantasy Shopper was launched just seven months ago and within a month had won the Amazon Global Start-up Challenge, which attracted 1,500 entrants. It was the first non-US company to win and secured $100,000 prize money.  It also received £200,000 early days funding from HackFwd, which is an invite only accelerator programme, investing in European businesses. Fantasy Shopper was the first in the UK to receive an invitation.

In January it secured $3.3 million funding from venture capital firms Accel Partners and NEA.

Now the small team is busy working on the plans to launch in the United States over the summer.

Based in an office at the Innovation Centre on the Streatham Campus, Fantasy Shopper also demonstrates that the latest hi-tech companies needn’t be based in Silicon Valley, or London, or other big cities around the world.

Visit their website

Date: 16 May 2012

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