Polyvore’s Jess Lee on Why She Sold to Yahoo

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 - Day 1
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Jess Lee of Polyvore judges during Startup Battlefield onstage during day one of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 at Pier 70 on September 21, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
Photograph by Steve Jennings — Getty Images

Earlier this year, Yahoo bought fashion e-commerce site Polyvore for $230 million, making it one of Yahoo’s (YHOO) largest acquisitions in 2015.

Founded in 2007, Polyvore lets users create sets of items that others can buy through the site. The company also built a visual search engine that’s intended to be a better way to search for clothes, handbags and accessories. By 2012, it had more than 20 million users and was helping drive business to retailers. It’s also developed a range of products, largely centered around advertising, and has a long-term goal to become the first stop for any fashion purchase, whether the customer is in the research-and-planing phase, or ready to buy.

At the time, the deal was said to bolster Yahoo’s “MaVeNS” — or mobile, video, native, and social — numbers, which CEO Marissa Mayer has made her new focus. The acquisition closed in September. Jess Lee, Polyvore’s CEO, sat down with Fortune briefly to talk about why she sold to Yahoo, what’s the future for Polyvore and more.

Fortune: Why did Yahoo make sense as an acquirer?

Lee: For Yahoo, on the consumer side of things, buying Polyvore was about investing in the lifestyle category. The company has learned that content and community can be a powerful thing, as shown by Yahoo Sports and the ability to incorporate news, premium content, fantasy sports and more. It’s same formula for fashion. On the business and revenue side, Polyvore has 400 advertisers. The site has already integrated our ads into the Yahoo native advertising network [called Gemini] and the goal is to expand that even further.

What can we expect from Polyvore in the near future?

We’re working on a lot of things for mobile. Polyvore has a lot of room to grow on mobile. We are also going to do more within the fashion community as well.

What about commerce?

Conversion rates for people to buy via mobile for retailers are generally low. This is an area we believe is ripe for disruption and we will be looking to help brands and merchants improve their conversion rates. We won’t hold any inventory, but we do see an opportunity to help retailers increase sales on mobile.

For more on Yahoo’s sports strategy, watch this video:

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