Sōsh Series B, New Cities, a Marketplace is Coming
In the fall of 2010 – nearly three years ago – I was sitting at the kitchen table screaming at the top of my lungs. Out of joy. It was 3am and Rod Begbie, then a smart co-worker and now one of my co-founders, decided to join us to build Sōsh. It marked the beginning of a journey.
Nearly three years later, I found myself doing it again. This time at a conference table at Sōsh HQ as another smart (former) co-worker decided to join our team. Today, I’m excited to share that Sōsh has raised $10.1 million in Series B financing. Khosla Ventures led the round, with our prior investors, Battery Ventures, also participating. KV’s Keith Rabois has joined our Board of Directors. Keith’s experience building and guiding companies like Square, Yelp, and LinkedIn will be invaluable as Sōsh expands and pursues an ambitious business model. In so many ways, it feels like a brand new beginning.
I’m humbled and excited to announce two additional investors: Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram, and Don Graham, former CEO of the Washington Post. Mike will help us scale up and make sense of the millions of data points we’ve used to construct the Interest Graph. And as we explore a new model for local content (one focused on driving real-world transactions), Don will help us cultivate the right approach and ecosystem.
Behind the scenes at Sōsh, we parse, structure, and aggregate massive amounts of data about the offline world (like what’s going on tonight; or what’s the weather like). We match that data against a user’s interests, preferred neighborhoods, current location, friends’ preferences, and more to generate inspiring recommendations. And though we invest so much technology into Sōsh, we obscure all of it on the front-end. Above all, Sōsh is designed to be simple, delightful, and helpful.
“Having Sōsh in your pocket makes a city more interesting, more memorable,” wrote Keith, Sōsh’s newest board member. “We are social animals, so the ideas of community and face-to-face interaction are hard-wired. Technology has rarely satisfied these human desires because bridging the online and offline worlds is incredibly difficult. Sōsh leverages a complex set of tools—namely mobile, machine learning, NLP, context-aware recommendations—to forge an elegant solution. I’m excited to work with the team as they scale to new cities.”
The new financing comes on the heels of our launch of Sōsh NYC, which has grown rapidly (already, over a third of Sōsh users are in NYC) with astounding user engagement. It’s a clear sign that what we’ve built is scalable and resonating. This new capital will fuel expansion to additional cities, our aggressive product plans, and the introduction of a brand new concept: a Marketplace for local activities.
To date, Sōsh has aimed to make it dead simple to find fun, while rewarding local artisans (from chefs to pottery teachers to bartenders) who are already taking risks to provide niche experiences. Looking forward, we’re seizing the opportunity to build on this with something even more profound: a true two-sided marketplace. Our goal here is to enable these artisans to leverage our Interest Graph data in order to understand their best customers and find more like them through unique and memorable experiences – not through discounts. With the Sōsh Marketplace, we’ll have the opportunity make cities more interesting than ever before.
— Rishi Mandal, co-founder and CEO, Sōsh