Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This time, our ongoing quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds us seeking a better way to shop and a few good batteries.
First up this week is TheFind.com, which, like fellow Baby Breaker ShopWiki, is a shopping engine. But whereas ShopWiki and its ilk are organized by categories, TheFind is a pure search engine that boasts a very clean interface.
And its results are excellent. Search for "first aid kits" and you get more than 28,000 results from nearly 2,000 stores. Each entry includes the price, a picture, and the store where it was found. Like a product in your list? Click on "more" and you'll receive additional results for just that product.
In short: TheFind is like a searchable, visually appealing catalog. That's a far cry from most sites, which offer little more than an index of text links.
Indeed, design may be this Baby Breaker's competitive advantage. For example, a save feature allows users to effectively assemble a collection of bargains in a clip book hosted at the site. No, I wouldn't call that a major breakthrough. But it's a convenience that could make shopping a lot more bearable for guys like me. Don't undersell that point, either. Investors in Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN ) and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) know what a huge difference convenience can make.
For TheFind, a broad emphasis on convenience is even attracting partners. eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) appears to be the latest. A new subsite allows consumers to browse products offered by merchants who accept PayPal.
Will TheFind carve out a profitable niche as a digital cataloguer? Data from Forrester Research looks promising. According to analysts there, e-commerce is expected to take in $161 billion in revenue during 2007. What's more, last year marked the first time digital apparel sales outstripped online sales of electronics or computers.
For venture investors, that's a trend worth betting on -- for Bain Capital, in particular. Bain led a $15 million third round of financing for TheFind, which the company disclosed last week. Redpoint Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated. Put this one on your IPO watch list, Fool.
Next up is Techtium, which has found a way to make average alkaline batteries power your notebook computer or your cell phone.
It's fascinating technology. According to Techtium's website, its adapter draws power from your Duracell to power itself, and then transfers that power to your device. Your notebook never actually "sees" the alkaline booster. It just gets the juice.
Talk about Rule Breaking. As a student of stock market history, I can't help but compare what Techtium is doing to what Palm did in its earliest days, when the now-deceased PalmPilot became the first personal digital assistant to need nothing more than a pair of double-As.
Investors know what happened next, and they've poured $10 million into a second round of financing for Techtium. We don't yet know if those funds will help the company to make history as Palm did. But I wouldn't bet against it.
See you back here next time, when we continue the quest to find the greatest growth.
For more Rule Breaking Foolishness:
- Check in with our last litter of infants.
- Some growth stocks are unloved.
- Here's how you lose a million in 30 minutes.
- Check on the latest list of top growth stocks.
How great is growth? Ten stocks in the market-beating Rule Breakers portfolio have at least doubled. Care to find out what they are? Get 30 days of free access to the service right now. There's no obligation to subscribe.
Amazon, eBay, Netflix, and Palm are all Stock Advisor selections.
Tim Beyers, who is ranked No. 2,249 out of more than 60,000 participants in Motley Fool CAPS, is a contributor to Fool.com and the Rule Breakers team. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Find his portfolio here and his latest blog commentary here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a rebel on Wall Street.