OpenLabel Exits Stealth, Raises $80K To Turn Barcodes Into Public Labels

OpenLabel Exits Stealth, Raises $80K To Turn Barcodes Into Public Labels

OpenLabel, a startup that wants to augment everyday products? barcodes with crowd-sourced information that helps you decide whether to buy, has raised $80,000 in seed funding in a round led by Peter Kirwan, also an investor in IFTTT. Also participating in the round were Tim Drees and Doug Taylor. According to OpenLabel co-founder Scott Kennedy, this $80K is just the first part of a larger $300,000 seed round, which the company expects to close prior to the April launch of the mobile application.
The app, previously in stealth mode, can best be thought of as a Twitter-like platform for sharing information around products. Unlike other barcode scanning applications like RedLaser or ShopSavvy, OpenLabel isn?t about delivering pricing information or product reviews, it?s about giving consumers the ability to share other information.
?We?re about everything but price,? says Kennedy, ?we?re about actual information.?
For example, users could add notes about the manufacturer?s use of child labor, sweat shops, animal testing, toxic chemicals, and more, and then give the product a thumbs-down. While those types of things sound like they may give OpenLabel somewhat of an activist slant, there are other types of things that could be shared, too, like the company?s political leaning and donations, its support for or stance against particular political or rights issues, like SOPA or employees benefits for same-sex couples. OpenLabel could also be used to share information about whether the product was recalled or had child safety issues, contained allergens like gluten, or whether it was derived from GMOs.
However, the process of accessing this information wouldn?t be different than when you use a barcode scanning application. You would launch the app, scan the product?s barcode and then read the resulting comments or leave one of your own. All comments have to be accompanied by a buy/avoid selection, as well.

The Twitter model comes into play because users can choose to follow others also on the pl