Rakuten and The Grommet Combine Forces To Advance E-commerce Discovery Of Unique Products

  Rakuten and The Grommet Combine Forces To Advance E-commerce Discovery Of
                               Unique Products

Daily Grommet Evolves Name to The Grommet, Rakuten Takes Majority Stake in
Maturing Company

PR Newswire

LEXINGTON, Mass., May 14, 2013

LEXINGTON, Mass., May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Today Daily Grommet, the online
marketplace and product launch platform for undiscovered consumer products,
announces the second tranche of investment by Rakuten, the third largest
online marketplace in the world, and a rebrand that includes a name change to
The Grommet. This investment makes Rakuten the major stakeholder in the
business. This significant news in The Grommet's history marks the company's
success in levelling the playing field so that the best products and companies
coming out of the "hardware renaissance" can succeed.The Grommet's disruptive
business model gives consumers a trusted place to engage with the stories and
people behind the explosion of new consumer products. It does so by
discovering, launching, and sharing up-and-coming products with an emerging
e-commerce shopper looking for meaningful products to buy online.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130514/NE13107LOGO )

Rakuten first invested in The Grommet in August 2012, when it led a round of
Series B funding in the company. Today's investment solidifies the shared
vision the companies have to empower and enhance consumer experience in
e-commerce by curating innovative products while telling their stories via
video and social channels.The consolidation of resources will provide The
Grommet platform access to a global base of undiscovered consumer products.
The Grommet will further advance Rakuten's sourcing and storytelling
capabilities and deepen the connections between consumers and merchants.

In just four years, The Grommet has launched and empowered 1,600 new products
on behalf of small companies or individuals. The Grommet's "Citizen Commerce"
movement is fostering connections between inventors and consumers, by enabling
product purchases that express powerful contemporary values around
sustainability, quality, technology and social enterprise. This success has
culminated in dramatic growth. The Grommet is projected to increase revenue by
400% in 2013.

The Grommet receives one million daily impressions from a large and
influential user base that recognizes it as trusted experts who successfully
source and vet unknown products with high market potential.The name change
reflects the company's powerful business platform model and puts the emphasis
on "grommet," the company's tangible symbol that represents its commitment to
innovative products, or "hardware." Today's investment will also help The
Grommet expand their retail product placement program. The company plans to
forge retail partnerships to propel selected "grommets" into the larger
consumer marketplace.

As the company continues to innovate, The Grommet has rolled out a new web
design look and feel with key features that further emphasize its mission.
These capabilities include easier shopping via larger, more attractive
displays; customer reviews; personal value icons for customers to align their
beliefs with their purchases; better mobile capabilities; and an updated
Citizens' Gallery to allow for more exploring and discovering.

The redesign also compliments the highly personal experience both The Grommet
and Rakuten value. Since 2011, The Grommet has successfully used Pinterest to
give its vibrant community a place to suggest new product ideas, and to
successfully drive traffic on Grommet product partner websites and grow
Pinterest followers. The Grommet is also extremely invested in the use of
video, producing one for every product on its site. Rakuten aligns perfectly
with this passion for curated commerce, having led a $100 million round of
investment in Pinterest just last year.

"After fostering product launches and success across 20 consumer product
categories and using cutting edge online media and storytelling for four
years, The Grommet has established an eye for what's relevant and innovative
to consumers today," says Joanne Domeniconi, Co-Founder and Chief Discovery
Officer. "Rakuten is the perfect match for The Grommet, as we share a common
vision for how people want to discover and buy products they love."

"The Grommet has proven to be a natural fit within the Rakuten family, as it
empowers product creators and consumers in discovery of good products," said
Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO and Founder of Rakuten. "The continued success of The
Grommet further proves what we at Rakuten firmly believe: that there is a
tremendous demand for this kind of high quality curated experience in the
online marketplace."

"We see this investment from Rakuten as a shining validation of what The
Grommet has accomplished so far," adds Jules Pieri, Co-Founder and CEO. "But,
what gets me excited is all that The Grommet can accomplish in our next
chapter with Rakuten. We cannot wait to grow The Grommet and become the
company any new product innovator dreams of securing as a launch partner.
Rakuten understands the unique disruption in "growing big while staying
small." I too see this as the most powerful way to advance our society and
the role of business in shaping the world!"

About The Grommet

The Grommet is a curated online marketplace and launch platform for
undiscovered products that's rethinking the way people fundamentally launch,
discover, share, influence and buy products online. Its mission is rooted in
the philosophy of Citizen Commerce™, a movement that enables product purchases
that express powerful contemporary values around sustainability, quality,
technology and social enterprise.

Founded in 2008, The Grommet has grown into a credible and innovative source
for discovering and launching new products, helping to launch household
products such as Fitbit, Soda Stream and Bananagrams. To find out more about
The Grommet's new name change and features you can visit the blog. To learn
more about The Grommet's products and mission visit the website at
www.thegrommet.com and CEO Jules Pieri's blog at www.jules.thegrommet.com. You
can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well as like us on
Facebook and watch our videos on our YouTube channel.

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ:4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service
companies, providing a variety of consumer- and business-focused services
including e-commerce, eBooks & eReading, travel, banking, securities, credit
card, insurance, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional
sports. Selected by Forbes as 7th among the World's Most Innovative Companies
of 2012, Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout
the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is
headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees and partner staff
worldwide. For more information, visit http://global.rakuten.com/corp/.


Margot Conner

SOURCE The Grommet

Website: http://www.thegrommet.com
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