Discovering Lyst, a Newsfeed for Shopping

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Name: Lyst

Quick Pitch: Follow brands, magazines and style icons to get a personalized stream of new clothing items and sales.

Genius Idea: Lyst is a Twitter-like newsfeed for shopping.

Like Twitter, you can opt to subscribe to, save and share the updates of different brands, stores, trendsetters and friends, which are organized in a reverse-chronological newsfeed, or “lyst.” You can also create your own curated feed of products, which can likewise function as a cross-platform shopping cart, or universal wishlist.

The site delivers, essentially, a visual, personalized news stream that delivers updates only about products you’re likely to be interested in. If you shop upscale, there’s no need to visit several different retailers to cross-check inventories or prices, given that many of the major ones, including Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s and Net-a-Porter, are already indexed on the site.

You also have the freedom to use Lyst as a multi-retailer shopping site, a la ShopStyle. You can browse new additions from many well-known designers and stores, and filter even further by category (say, dresses or bags), color and price. Even better, there’s a section entirely for sales.

Co-founder CEO Chris Morton, whom I interviewed on a #fashion140 panel this spring, cites music discovery startups last.fm and Pandora as inspirations for the service.

“Through [those] sites we were discovering great new songs and bands, so we wanted to build a tool that let people discover amazing fashion products and designers,” Morton says of Lyst’s conception. “We didn’t believe that discovery process could be done purely algorithmically, because fashion is a personal expression — it can’t be distilled into a sequence of numbers and letters.”

Thus the team turned to Twitter, looking to the microblogging service “to recreate that sort of personalized experience, but centered around visually rich products, just for fashion,” he explains.

“In effect, [users’] stylefeeds become the place they are most likely to discover items they love,” he adds.

Lyst launched in open beta three months ago and is already attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors and driving millions of dollars in sales for the site’s partners each month, Morton claims.

Morton himself is a former venture capital investor, having focused on early-stage consumer Internet companies both at Balderton Capital and Benchmark Capital before founding Lyst. He oversees the business from its London headquarters with frequent trips to its satellite office in New York.

The startup, which raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Accel and a handful of investors in the luxury space, is set to announce partnerships with a number of actors and musicians in the coming months, as well as (we expect) a slew of product updates.

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