kindred ventures
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Our Investment in Carrot

I always like to say that technology is not software, or hardware, but systems and tools that are used to solve problems uniquely well. In that way, not only was the computer an invention of technology, but so was the printing press, writing itself, and the wheel. The history of the cart, a multi-wheeled transportation device, dates back to agricultural times, where the first bounties of the Fall season needed to be carried home. It’s a case of technology so simple, so useful, and so good, that it didn’t need to be changed for thousands of years.

When commerce moved to the web, it looked like when media first moved online — skeuomorphic, mimicking the real world. You would “enter” a store (many of which even had an enter button), and then browse the virtual aisles, adding items to your cart, which you would then bring to the checkout. For 20 years, it seemed like we were stuck in that paradigm. Who could imagine anything else? Of course, e-commerce is not just stores online, the same way digital media isn’t just… newspapers and magazines online. Of course, e-commerce is not just stores online, the same way digital media isn’t just newspapers and magazines online; you can compare products and prices like never before; you can solicit instantaneous feedback from friends, family, or even strangers. The cart, bound to a single store and useful only when you actually visit that store, no longer makes sense. But I hadn’t met anyone who knew how to design the answer to this. Until Carrot.

When we met Bobby and Ramin a few months ago, it was clear that they knew precisely where the future of shopping would go, and were writing that future in front of us. They had worked together at many of the most iconic brands in New York City tech, on the frontier of shopping, consumer products, and an internet-first culture. Talking to them, it was immediately clear that e-commerce was not “carts, but online”, but that they were inventing an internet-native shopping experience, that looked like shopping, but really felt like something new. Carrot is a browser extension that allows you to shop differently: it creates a universal cart that works wherever you shop online. It allows you to automatically save, sort, and share the items you’ve discovered online. It’s the kind of thing that sounds obvious as soon as you hear it. But I believe it can create a curation layer for commerce on the web.

The founders — a designer and an engineer — approached the problem from the vantage point of user experience and of systems. They thought about abandoned carts, about lost browser tabs, about the lack of social connection and shared experiences in the modern e-commerce workflow. Their early results have already been remarkable: they created technology.

We are thrilled to partner with some of our favorite co-investors, pioneers in user-centric design, software networks, and consumer culture to support Carrot in this foundational stage. They are hiring a Head of Community, and if you love the internet, networks, and shopping, please apply: after all, you don’t get that many chances to really, truly reinvent the wheel.

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Kanyi Maqubela

Kanyi Maqubela

managing partner, kindred ventures. lover, not-fighter.