This HBS Startup is Changing the Way We Shop Online

Magpie delivers a single-click buy experience to any image, video, or app

This post was co-authored by Ellen DaSilva, an HBS student and member of the Rough Draft student team.

While the majority of Americans are shopping online, 73% of shopping carts were abandoned by customers pre-checkout last year. That amounts to $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise.


Consumers are discovering products online via apps, social media, and online magazines, but often abandon these purchases when they’re prompted to open a new window or create a shopping account. These steps simply add too much friction to the process.

The team at Magpie knows this problem all too well. Their solution? A system that allows online publishers to tag products from their content on the backend so readers can shop directly through any image, video, or app they come across.

A consumer browsing their favorite website or app can click on the products they see in media, add them to Magpie’s native cart interface, and checkout, all without leaving the page. Consumers can use one account to purchase from any retailer, on any website that partners with Magpie.

Magpie’s co-founder and CEO, Damjan Korac, first came up with the idea behind Magpie during college when he saw how people around him were shopping online — lots of open tabs and windows but few actual purchases. He thought about the problem more when he worked as a software engineer at AppNexus and saw how brands and retailers were trying to connect with consumer in a more meaningful way: “As a consumer, I saw what was wrong with the online shopping experience, and as an engineer, I saw what could be built to fix it.” Damjan came to business school wanting to solve this problem and brought together Gerrit Orem (CPO) and Andrea Fantacone (COO) during their first year. Gerrit worked at a Boston-based education technology company, first in a rotational management program and later as a product manager, and Andrea spent 5 years in the US Air Force as a program manager, leading the procurement of multi-million dollar software and hardware systems for various fleets of aircraft. The team’s mix of skills has allowed them to build the technology in-house and stay lean.

Born out of Harvard Business School, Magpie has leveraged several university resources to get off the ground. This includes Frank Cespedes, Professor of Entrepreneurial Sales and Marketing and Jeff Bussgang, Professor of Launching Tech Ventures at HBS who have become close mentors to the team. Additionally, the team has received product mentorship from entrepreneurs-in-residence at the Harvard iLab.

We’re excited to welcome Magpie in the RDV family as they redesign e-commerce. Stay tuned for updates!

Gif credits: Giphy// Giphy