Needle Sews Up $10.5M B Round

Needle, the Salt Lake City-based social commerce platform, has landed $10.5 million in Series B funding in a round co-led by Shasta Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners. Next, Jim Barnett, a partner at Shasta Ventures, and Douglas Schrier, a partner at Rembrandt, will join the company’s board.

PRESS RELEASE:

Needle Raises $10.5 Million Series B Funding to Accelerate Growth of its
Social Selling Platform

• Shasta Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners Co-lead Round as
Needle Expands itsPool of Product Experts and Fans
• Jim Barnett from Shasta Ventures and Douglas Schrier from
Rembrandt Venture Partners will Join Needle’s Board of Directors

SALT LAKE CITY (July 2, 2012) – Needle Inc. today announced that it has
closed a $10.5 million series B funding round, co-led by Shasta Ventures
and Rembrandt Venture Partners. This most recent round of funding will be
used to accelerate the adoption of thecompany’s social selling platform
and expand its pool of brand experts and fans for its ecommerce clients.

Needle provides ecommerce companies the ability to link certified product
experts and fans of the brand with customers shopping the site to provide
guided shopping assistance via chat, video or voice. The experts and fans
that Needle identifies and certifies use Needle’s Guided Shopping platform
– a complete web-based communications platform that was architected from
the ground-up to provide ecommerce shoppers with an in-store shopping
experience online. “Needlers,” as they are called, can access the platform
anywhere they have an Internet connection, and customers connect with
these fans and experts by clicking a banner or invitation on the ecommerce
partner’s site.

Needle’s existing clients that utilize this model see dramatic
improvements to site performance, in many cases doubling their ROI through
increased sales conversion rates, better customer retention and improved
Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a measurement of customerloyalty. Needle’s
clients each have NPS scores higher than 72 percent, compared to an
industry average of 47 percent.
“Companies that continue to use antiquated text-based chat to provide
customer experience are going to fall far behind in the ecommerce world,”
said Morgan Lynch, founder and CEO of Needle. “Today’s buyer expects
authenticity and expertise, and passing them off to a person in a contact
center who has no genuine experience with the company’s products and is
using canned answers is the antithesis of that. Shasta and Rembrandt
recognize the disruptive role Needle is playing in the ecommerce world and
we’re looking forward to working with them as we fix real-time shopping
interactions online and disrupt the $100 billion global contact center
space.”

Jim Barnett, a partner at Shasta Ventures, and Douglas Schrier, a partner
at Rembrandt Venture Partners, will both join Needle’s board of directors.

Prior to joining Shasta, Barnett was the chairman, CEO and co-founder of
Turn, the leading platform for managing data drivendigital advertising.
Before that he was president of Overture Search, a division of Overture
Services, Inc. Jim joined Overture via its acquisition of AltaVista
Company, where he was president and CEO. In this role, he led thecompany’s
successful turnaround and sale to Overture.
Schrier is an investment and private equity veteran with over 20 years of
experience funding, managing, and developing technology companies. He has
invested approximately $140 million into 22 startups over the past 15
years with 14 realizations that have produced over a 5X return, and was
the Co-Founder, COO & CFO of Multum Information Services and President of
Ceon Corporation.
“The platform Needle has architected over the last two years has the
potential to change the ecommerce landscape,” said Jim Barnett, Partner at
Shasta Ventures. “Ecommerce companies have been focused on social commerce
without a lot of measureable results. Needle’s platform takes fans and
experts from places like Facebook and literally puts them to work by
inserting theminto the sales process.”

Prior to this round, Needle raised a series A round of $2 million. This
marks thesecond time Shasta Ventures has invested in a company founded by
Lynch, having previously backed his startup company Logoworks, which was
acquired by HP in 2007.

About Needle

Needle created a new model of social commerce that provides ecommerce
websites with real-time expert shopping assistance. Needle’s innovative
chat and voice communications platform enables experts and product owners
to engage online shoppers, significantly raisingconversion and Net
Promoter Scores. Needle has experts and fans ready to help in most
categories ranging from electronics to cosmetics, and is pioneering a new
work model called “Fan Sourcing.” For more information about how Needle
works and who Needle works for, please visit www.needle.com
. Needle is a privately held company based in Salt
Lake City. Needle® is a registered trademark of Needle Inc.

About Rembrandt Venture Partners

Rembrandt Venture Partners (RVP) is a leading technology venture capital
firm focusedsolely on helping entrepreneurs build great companies that
change the way we live and work. RVP’s investment team includes
individuals with successful track records in both venture capital
investing, with over $1.3 billion realized, and operating roles at
companies such as Opsware (acquired by HP for $1.6 billion) and Splunk (in
IPO registration). Current RVP investments include CloudOn, InsideView,
Ooyala and Zenprise. Past investments include Cavium Networks (NASDAQ:
CAVM), Good Technology (acquired by Motorola) and IronPort (acquired by
Cisco Systems). To learn more about Rembrandt Venture Partners, please
visit www.rembrandtvc.com .

About Shasta Ventures

Shasta Ventures is anearly-stage investment firm focused on companies in
the consumer-Internet, mobile and software sectors. Shasta was formed to
back brilliant entrepreneurs with an unwavering commitment to the customer
experience. The firm is based in Menlo Park, California. For more
information, go to www.shastaventures.com, or follow us on Twitter at
@shasta.