Melbourne-based Little Birdie, an e-commerce startup that wants to become the “new homepage of online shopping,” won’t launch until next month, but it’s already scored a major investor. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the largest of Australia’s “Big Four” banks, has poured $30 million AUD (about $23.2 million USD) in pre-launch funding into Little Birdie, and will also integrate its shopping content, including exclusive offers, into its consumer banking app, which reaches 11 million retail customers in Australia.
Little Birdie says this brings its valuation to $130 million AUD (about $100 million USD). Compared to the United States, where Amazon is the largest e-commerce retailer by far, Australian shoppers spend more time choosing between several platforms, including large marketplaces like eBay, Gumtree, Amazon, Woolworths and a host of smaller players.
Set to launch in mid-June, Little Birdie will aggregate over 70 million products from different online brands and stores, with the goal of being the first place shoppers look when they want to buy something. Users can use Little Birdie to track and compare products, and look for price drops, sales and offers. The SKUs come from a combination of brand partnerships and scraping e-commerce sites, with the majority from retailers’ product feeds.
Co-founder and chief executive officer Jon Beros told TechCrunch that “Australia’s e-commerce market is very competitive and quite fragmented with a lot of retailers fighting for market share. The pandemic accelerated online adoption and saw many retailers switch on an online presence, or shift their focus online. With so many players fighting for the attention of shoppers and driving up the cost of acquisition, Little Birdie can genuinely help retailers by providing a new marketing channel that delivers qualified customers leads.”
Commonwealth Bank will be able to access Little Birdie’s catalog of shopping content to create targeted offers for customers, including features that link savings goals to specific items through its money management tools. Beros said that Little Birdie will also seek two different types of brand partnerships: “Firstly with retailers who come on board to promote their exclusive offers and products on Little Birdie and secondly with major brands and media companies that look to integrate our shopping content into their apps or websites. These integration partners ultimately deepen the value Little Birdie offers its retail partners by helping to amplify the reach of their offers to a wider audience.”
The company is looking at expansion into Southeast Asia and the United States, but Beros said there is not a firm timeline for its international growth yet, since it depends on the COVID-19 pandemic situation and when borders start to reopen.
In a press statement, Commonwealth Bank group executive Angus Sullivan said, “We believe customers should have access to the world’s best digital experience and our partnership with Little Birdie will give customers access to exclusive industry leading deals via the CommBank app.”