Jon Vlassopulos has a lot of things he wants to do, so he turned list making into a business — with the backing of some notable investors, including WME, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Machinima chairman Allen DeBevoise and individuals from Facebook, Conde Nast and Hulu.
The digital entrepreneur has raised a $1.5 million seed round of funding to launch Fabric, an app that enables users to build and share lists of new movies, TV shows, music and travel destinations they love but also want to check out.
The app, now available on the Apple App store, essentially turns lists Fabric’s team curates into editorial content that can be browsed, with users able to add what’s mentioned to their own favorites.
“Everyone wants to do more of what they love. We all try and keep lists of what we want to do, but they are scattered across our minds, post-its, notebooks, emails or different services” said Vlassopulos, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Fabric. ”We are making doing what you love easier and more fun by inspiring our users to build all their lists in one place and making their lists social and actionable.”
The concept essentially turns list making into a game, with the app’s design borrowing from what’s made companies like Pinterest, Buzzfeed and Tinder so popular: large art, editorial content made up of lists and the ability to swipe. An algorithm connects users to each other based on interests and social recommendations, and enables them to chat through the app.
But what helped attract the attention of the investment community, both in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, was Fabric’s ability to monetize an individual’s want lists. If there’s a movie they want to see, Fabric will take them to Amazon or another retailer to purchase the title. The same is true for TV or music, and eventually will be for other categories like hotel rooms or flight bookings.
Fabric collects a small percentage of sales that are made from the links. It currently has deals with iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Fandango for transactions that can be made through the app.
Other investors contributing to Fabric’s seed round are venture funds Manatt and Structure, as well as angel investors at RDIO, Wanda, Starcom, Motorola, UMG, King.com and Viacom.
Marketers also have the opportunity to pair up with Fabric to develop and promote their own lists to feature on the app, which should provide the company with more ways to monetize the app through advertising in the future.
“The exciting thing for me about Fabric is that it is a massive intent engine that captures valuable consumer intent data across multibillion-dollar advertising categories like travel and entertainment,” said John Spinale, Disney Interactive Media’s former head of social games, and now a Fabric investor. “Now when a friend swipes down to add Costa Rica to her travel want-to list, it is a perfect opportunity for an airline to present her an offer. Everyone wins. This is the way advertising should be. In the future I can see Fabric becoming your personal concierge and connector.”
To make Fabric more attractive, Vlassopulos has started lining up celebrities whose lists the company wants to feature as content on the app. Those already include Amy Smart, Chuck D, Olly Murs, Duran Duran, Deepak Chopra and the Script.
“We are all made up of a fabric of our interests and experiences, but up to now, we haven’t had a chance to share our Fabric and connect with people who share our interests,” said Allen DeBevoise, chairman of Machinima and Fabric investor. “Fabric blends the creative expression of Pinterest, the fun list experience of Buzzfeed and the utility of apps like Evernote to allow people to easily build and maintain their personal fabric — everything they’ve done and everything they want to do. This is going to be a very powerful platform for driving activity and connecting people.”