CommerceIQ gets its horn as capital continues to flow into e-commerce infrastructure startups – TechCrunch

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When much of the shopping shifted online during the global pandemic, startups developing software and other products to ease the transition began to attract the attention of venture capitalists.

We’ve seen companies across the entire e-commerce infrastructure and enablement ecosystem perform bigger and bigger rounds, and CommerceIQ is the latest to receive late-stage funding. The CEO is Guru Hariharan, who you might remember from retail analytics company Boomerang Commerce, a 2014 Startup Battlefield finalist. left the company for Lowe’s in 2019.

Hariharan’s background is in machine learning and e-commerce, and while working at Amazon he said the goal was to take humans out of the equation in retail, and therefore his team created software, called Amazon Selling Coach, on how to interact with the brands.

As people began shifting their purchases of items, from tools to toothpaste, to Amazon and other marketplaces, Hariharan wanted to create a business that would fuel all that money.

Picture credits: CommerceIQ / Guru Hariharan, CEO of CommerceIQ

“If you look at the whole retail picture – buying products from one brand, the buy and sell sides have to be balanced,” Hariharan said. “I left to start the business to focus on building the sell side of the equation for brands to sell and interfacing with retailers on the buy side.”

CommerceIQ’s retail e-commerce management tools automate and unify aspects, such as category analytics and retail media, sales and operations management, under one roof for brands. Customers can expect 18% growth in sales on average, he added.

The Bay Area-based company now works with more than 2,200 brands, such as Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly Clark and Bayer, which drive incremental sales, category market share and unit profitability through retailers. online, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Instacart. .

CommerceIQ closed a $115 million Series D financing, bringing the company’s valuation to over $1 billion. The latest capital injection comes less than a year after a $60 million Series C round that took place in June 2021. It also gives CommerceIQ a total of $175 million in funding raised over the past 12 month and $196 million to date.

The funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and includes participation from existing investors including Insight Partners, Trinity Ventures, Shasta Ventures and Madrona Venture Group.

As part of the investment, Priya Saiprasad, a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, joins CommerceIQ’s board of directors.

“E-commerce penetration has grown at an unprecedented rate and online channels are a strategic priority for major brands,” she said. “Traditional brick-and-mortar strategy doesn’t transfer to e-commerce, but the old way with spreadsheets and human-driven operations doesn’t scale. CommerceIQ is the leading channel optimization platform enabling the biggest brands to win in retail.”

Along with the opportunity to work with Saiprasad, Hariharan said the engine for finding new funding — especially when his seed fund is still firmly in the bank — sees the retail sector 4.5 trillions of dollars at a massive inflection point. This included $1 trillion flowing through e-commerce and the industry as a whole growing five years in the space of 12 months during the global pandemic.

Regarding the distribution of $1 trillion in e-commerce, Hariharan estimates that approximately $150 billion goes directly to the consumer, while the remaining $850 billion is indirect, such as Walmart, Target and GoPuff sites. .

That’s why he thinks the time is right to accelerate CommerceIQ. The company closed 2021 with 106% year-over-year revenue growth, 113% growth in the number of customers served, and a 100% increase in the number of employees worldwide.

The company has also expanded into automations, delivering 215 million last year, up 70 million year-on-year. This year, Hariharan expects to deliver 500 million automations. Meanwhile, $1.1 billion flows through software, up from $250 million last year.

The new funding will allow CommerceIQ to accelerate its R&D and M&A activities, which Hariharan says will focus on potential opportunities to deepen and broaden the SaaS vertical and also consider expansion in the regions. from Europe and Asia-Pacific.

“We are more opportunistic and throwing oil on the fire, but we are rising to throw oil on a fire that is already burning well,” he added.

The fire is indeed burning in the e-commerce infrastructure ecosystem, with companies announcing new funding almost daily.

Talia Goldberg, partner at Bessemer Ventures, told me that “now is a great time to be in an e-commerce enablement business given the tailwinds and adoption.”

“One of the reasons it’s an attractive space to invest in is that people care about the power of business performance and growth, but it’s also a huge market,” she added. “There are a lot of opportunities to shop around, and for some companies there will be no winner, but a number of leading companies who will share the market in different ways.”

London & Partners and Dealroom.co reported this month that $51 billion in venture capital was invested in U.S. digital shopping companies in 2021, up from $23 billion in 2020. Globally, that was $140 billion the last year, compared to $68 billion the previous year. It is certainly not slowed down. Here are a few we’ve seen this month:

  • Akeneo, focused on product experience and information management, has integrated $135 million in Series D funding. We have profiled them previously.
  • Intuitivo, an Argentinian AI and computer vision startup, has raised $7.8 million in a seed funding round as it develops a one-to-one shopping experience, transforming any cooler or cabinet into a smart on-the-go tool.
  • Canal, which developed a connected commerce app so brands can directly manage relationships with vendors whose products they sell, raised $22.5 million in Series A and launched it in the App Store from Shopify.

Meanwhile, Ryan Lee, co-founder and CEO of marketplace launch tool Nautical Commerce, said we’ll likely continue to see traction as commerce tech companies continue to shift to marketplace enablement tools. e-commerce.

“The incumbents are over 20 years old and built on an aging infrastructure created before smartphones and social media,” he added. “Over the next decade, we’ll have connected commerce and other tools to share your catalog wherever shoppers are.”


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