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Pinterest Missed An $8 Billion Opportunity And This Little Startup Just Snatched It Up

I recently discovered what a deep rabbit hole Pinterest is when I took a tumble down it in search of a bridesmaid’s dress.



Hours upon hours of my life were lost to that infinite scrolling, addictive site and the biggest thing that pissed me off was when I couldn’t figure out where the $%!$@ the dress I wanted came from originally. Cue reverse image search on Google that brings me up 8 million other dresses I DIDN’T want and no info on the one that I DID.


If only I had known about Browsy two weeks ago, I could have saved myself a whole lot of pain.


Taking on Pinterest’s $8 billion missed ecommerce opportunity, Browsy makes every pin totally shoppable. Pinterest is used by so many people who are looking to buy products, but 50% of the links on there are expired or lead to incorrect sites. Browsy solves that problem by having users send them the URL of the pin they’re interested in and they come back with an instant response that includes where to buy stuff from Pinterest at the lowest possible price.


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The site just recently launched their beta but have already raised $60K and are working on a larger seed round at the time of this article’s publication. In their first two days they saw 350 customers, with an average $1 earned per customer, just through click-throughs. Pretty impressive traction for a brand new company…


Sonali Pillay Browsy co-founder and CEO

Browsy co-founder and CEO Sonali Pillay took some time out from her crazy 12 hours days participating in the Dreamit Ventures accelerator program to talk to us about her favorite tools for busy entrepreneurs, including websites and apps you really shouldn’t be living without. She also shared some of her struggles getting Browsy built, tested, and launched.


Top 5 websites you couldn’t live without and why?

  1. Wunderlist – because all my tasks are there.
  2. Trello – because all our teams’ tasks are there.
  3. The Daily Mail – because I need a good fix of junk journalism and celebrity gossip to unwind.
  4. Pinterest – because it’s our bread and butter.
  5. Browsy – because I’m being cheeky, but it’s our baby and we spend all day every day slaving over it. screenshot


Top 5 mobile apps you’re in love with and why?

  1. Starbucks – because there’s a free coffee for every 12 and when it happens I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
  2. Ruzzle – because it’s how I spend subway rides (boggle copy-cat).
  3. Goodreads – because it’s impossible to get good book recommendations (I only have a few friends whose taste I trust).
  4. Pocket – because I sometimes read my trashy Daily Mail articles on the subway.
  5. Notes – because it’s simple and whenever I have inspiration (usually on the subway) I have an easy place to go.


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Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?

  1. Sam Biddle – for not taking startups too seriously.
  2. Marc Andreessen – for taking startups very seriously and creating the tweet rant/long form tweeting that can be incredibly frustrating but can also convey real content on Twitter.
  3. Richard and Sam Branson – because their love of entrepreneurship and building innovative products is contagious and they look like they seriously have figured out how to do it while having fun.


beyonce browsy


When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? On your third beer?

On the subway to work. My notepad app is the ramblings of a lunatic with moments of clarity (this is all pre-coffee).


A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?

A few things created the tipping point – we have great validation from Beta testers who felt a really strong pain point and had been waiting for a product like ours, as well as the fact that we had the safety net of an incubator , which is a safe space to build our business and vet it thoroughly. It was an opportunity we couldn’t miss and we knew that committing full time was the only way to scale such a technical product.


Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.

There’s always the struggle with perfection and just building, shipping and testing. Early on we agonized about making features perfect and extrapolating what users would want from our product. It at times led to “over-building” or building non-critical features that were a not a good use of our time.


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How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?

Product delays happen and each time they are frustrating and somewhat unanticipated. We handle them by over-communicating what is happening, what did happen and how to improve the next time. We make sure to take time out – usually out of the office (and preferably with baked goods) to sit down and discuss.


browsy bill blass


Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?

The best time to start a company is when you’re still working. Don’t let yourself grasp at straws out of desperation. Having a salary and few constraints (except your time during weekdays) is actually a really great way of objectively evaluating whether the startup you’ve built (or MVP) is promising.


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What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?

I think people remain nervous about giving away equity in their company to accelerator programs. Depending on your stage, the equity you give away and the funding you gain don’t really convey the full value or cost. There are a huge amount of other benefits (the credential, numerous introductions, a 90-day stress test, a platform for fundraising) that you should seriously consider.


Where can our readers find you?

FacebookTwitter, or my personal Twitter.



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Photo Credits


Author : Emma McGowan

Emma is a proud native of Burlington, Vermont, who has lived in six different countries over the past two years. She's living and loving the global nomad life and writing about technology and startups everywhere she goes. Check out more of her writing about tech on (the more titillating stuff) KinkAndCode.. Follow her on Twitter @MissEmmaMcG.

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