Little Birdie suspends operations, promises AI in the future

(Source: Little Birdie/ Website)

Melbourne e-commerce startup Little Birdie has announced it is pausing operations for the foreseeable future. In a note to customers, the company said it will be working on an AI shopping tool in the meantime.

According to Startup Daily, this email was sent to Little Birdie customers on Friday evening. It has also been posted on the company’s website, informing users that its website, app, and extension experiences are being switched off for an undisclosed period of time.

“Little Birdie has paused operations,” the website reads.

“For now, this means we are turning off our website, app and extension experiences. Together we’ve soared high. Thanks to your usage and feedback, we’ve had 10 million visits, uncovered over $45 million in savings, and helped over 3 million shoppers find the right retailer.”

Launched officially in 2021 by Catch founders Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, Little Birdie aims to provide customers the best possible deal for buying items online.

It also had the backing of CBA, which invested $30 million in pre-launch funding into the platform for a 23 per cent stake. At the time, this brought the valuation of Little Birdie to $130 million before releasing a product.

In mid-2023 Little Birdie launched its browser extension, which alerted customers to a cheaper deal than the one they were perusing at the time. It also provided cost graphs to show how the price of an item may have changed over time.

CEO Jon Beros at the time said the tool catered to “intent” shoppers, who knew what they wanted, rather than “discovery” shoppers browsing deals.

“It gives you everything in one view, so you don’t have to trawl through hundreds of websites and open hundreds of tabs,” Beros said to SmartCompany.

However, Beros also acknowledged that the new tool was landing at a time of significant economic pressure that was impacting consumer habits.

“There’s definitely been a huge change in the last few years for the macro-economic environment,” Beros said.

“Obviously, we had the Covid period where everything was booming online.

“It kind of went through a bit of a normalisation, and now obviously with the economy things are getting tougher for retailers and consumers.”

Little Birdie’s pause announcement also came with a promise of future improvements.

“We are working on an improved format to deliver our AI shopping tool. In the meantime, this unfortunately means you can no longer use Little Birdie,” the website reads.

It’s currently unclear what the timeline of delivery of the new product is or exactly how AI will be integrated.

SmartCompany contacted Little Birdie and CBA for comment but didn’t receive a response in time for publication.

This story was originally published on Smart Company.

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