Winklevoss twins lead $750K investment in shopping startup

The brothers made famous by a Facebook legal battle flex their new VC muscles and bet on Hukkster, a discount online shopping service.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
Winklevoss twins do a pistachio commercial.
The Winklevoss twins, before they were VCs, did a pistachio commercial. YouTube

The Winklevoss twins, known for their long legal battle with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have made another investment as venture capitalists in their post-Facebook lives.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, also known as the "Winklevii," led a $750,000 investment round for Hukkster, an online shopping startup that lets shoppers track online merchandise and receive notifications when prices drop, The New York Times reported today.

New York-based Hukkster was founded by two former retail consultants, Katie Finnegan and Erica Bell, and has more than 10,000 users. Retailers such as J. Crew, Bloomingdale's, and ShopBop pay a referral fee to Hukkster for every sale the site brings to their virtual door.

The $750,000 investment comes on top of $250,000 in seed capital from a group that included Jerome S. Griffith, the chief executive of Tumi, and Chris Fiore, a former executive at American Eagle Outfitters.

The brothers found out about the site through a friend who met Bell by chance, and after using the service, the twins had dinner with the two women. A deal was struck "within a couple of weeks," Cameron Winklevoss told The New York Times.

The Winklevoss brothers started their venture capital firm Winklevoss Captial earlier this year, and recentlyinvested $1 million in SumZero, a social network aimed at professional investors. SumZero was founded in 2008 by former Harvard classmates Aalap Mahadevia and Divya Narendra, the latter of whom was a party to the Winklevoss twins' lawsuit that claimed they were misled about Facebook's value. They dropped the suit in June 2011, taking home a $65 million settlement.

The money is why the twins can invest in an online shopping site like Hukkster, which joins the crowded marketplace of online retail and discount shopping. Hukkster impresses the brothers because the users get deals only on a specific product they want, which means less discount spam.