After 2 years in stealth mode ex-Obama tech team unveils 'shop everywhere' platform

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Published on Feb. 12, 2015


Over two years since beginning development in stealth mode, highly anticipated startup Modest debuted last week. Founded by four former engineers for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, the startup had promised to “build the future of e-commerce.”  It will be trying to do that with the launch of embeddable anywhere “buy” buttons.
Modest's buy buttons embed into third-party mobile apps and eventually blogs and email newsletters. The idea behind the feature is to reduce the number of swipes and taps needed to make a purchase, allowing e-commerce sellers to complete sales on mobile apps, email and websites, where and when users are ready to buy.
The launch of Modest’s buy anywhere feature is part of a larger trend to reduce the number of steps between prospective customer interest and purchase. Some content providers, like Tapiture, StackSocial, and Grandex, are even forgoing banner advertisements with e-commerce buying opportunities. Modest is spreading that trend further by allowing businesses to embed buying opportunities on their own mobile apps.
The Modest platform will also connect to Shopify, Magento, and eventually Big Commerce, making it easier for small to medium-sized businesses already using those e-commerce platforms to implement the one-touch purchase feature on mobile. That will enable small time apps, businesses with small email lists, and modestly trafficked websites to sell over mobile may open up a big new e-commerce market. Companies Shawnimals, Intelligentsia, and Raygun are already early customers.
Modest was founded and is led by several of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign staffers. Harper Reed, CEO of Modest, worked as the Obama campaign’s CTO, and Dylan Richard, the startup’s CTO, worked as the campaign’s director of engineering. Post-campaign, the company said little about what it was working on, famously being coy about the nature of their work. Now with several of Modest’s products revealed, it’s clear the startup is looking to tackle something big.
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