July 9, 2012

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Needle Raises Funding to Accelerate Growth of Its Social Platform

Press Release

July 9, 2012

Needle Inc. announced that it has closed a $10.5 million series B funding round, co-led by Shasta Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners. This most recent round of funding will be used to accelerate the adoption of the company’s social selling platform and expand its pool of brand experts and fans for its ecommerce clients.

Needle provides ecommerce companies the ability to link certified product experts and fans of the brand with customers shopping the site to provide guided shopping assistance via chat, video or voice. The experts and fans that Needle identifies and certifies use Needle’s Guided Shopping platform – a complete web-based communications platform that was architected from the ground up to provide ecommerce shoppers with an in-store shopping experience online. “Needlers,” as they are called, can access the platform anywhere they have an Internet connection, and customers connect with these fans and experts by clicking a banner or invitation on the ecommerce partner’s site.

Needle’s existing clients that utilize this model see dramatic improvements to site performance, in many cases doubling their ROI through increased sales conversion rates, better customer retention and improved Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a measurement of customer loyalty. Needle’s clients each have NPS scores higher than 72 percent, compared to an industry average of 47 percent.

“Companies that continue to use antiquated text-based chat to provide customer experience are going to fall far behind in the ecommerce world,” said Morgan Lynch, founder and CEO of Needle. “Today’s buyer expects authenticity and expertise, and passing them off to a person in a contact center who has no genuine experience with the company’s products and is using canned answers is the antithesis of that. Shasta and Rembrandt recognize the disruptive role Needle is playing in the ecommerce world and we’re looking forward to working with them as we fix real-time shopping interactions online and disrupt the $100 billion global contact center space.”

Jim Barnett, a partner at Shasta Ventures, and Douglas Schrier, a partner at Rembrandt Venture Partners, will both join Needle’s board of directors.

“The platform Needle has architected over the last two years has the potential to change the ecommerce landscape,” said Barnett. “Ecommerce companies have been focused on social commerce without a lot of measurable results. Needle’s platform takes fans and experts from places like Facebook and literally puts them to work by inserting them into the sales process.”

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