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This software startup could spice up your e-commerce results

July 8, 2015, 4:51 PM UTC

The eccentric copywriting style of the J. Peterman print catalog inspired a running gag on “Seinfeld.” The joke worked because it rang so true: how a product is described can make or break a sale.

That’s especially true in the world of e-commerce.

Virtually every retailer has its unique take on what works and what does not, to help ensure searches for specific items or categories draw as many visitors to their specific online storefront as possible. That means marketing teams basically are stuck managing multiple catalogs of descriptive content—including text, videos and images—depending on how many sales partners they use.

Enter Salsify, a Boston-based startup founded by several former executives from Endeca, the commerce software company bought by Oracle in December 2011. The company works with brands like Rubbermaid, Bosch and Reckitt Bensicker to make that process more disciplined. And, by extension, far more effective at driving transactions.

“We have built a platform that helps brands and retailers collaborate. It gives teams a place to collect, creative and manage the content, and then optimize it for each channel,” said Salsify co-founder and CEO Jason Purcell.

This week, the 45-person company disclosed a $16.6 million Series B round led by Venrock. Partner Mike Tyrrell has joined the company’s board as a result. He noted: “Salisfy is changing the way retailers and suppliers share key information, dramatically improving data quality and transforming the consumer’s online shopping experience.”

Existing venture firms Matrix Partners and North Bridge also participated in the new round along with individual investor Michael Skok. Total funding now stands at $24.6 million.

How well does Salsify work? Purcell estimates that brands typically will experience a 10% to 20% improvement in sales. One Salisfy’s clients, a medical equipment company, doubled its online business after adopting the system and making far more of its product line available through this channel, he said.

Salsify’s new funds will go primarily toward growing the company’s engineering and customer success teams.

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