E-commerce is booming, but it has become increasingly clear over the years that the companies able to capitalize on this trend – and contribute to this growth – are those able to grasp the right technology to navigate the world. ‘space. Today, Salsify, one of the startups developing e-commerce solutions for this purpose, announces a hefty $200 million funding round, a sum that speaks to both market demand and its success. nowadays.
“It’s been very busy,” CEO and co-founder Jason Purcell told TechCrunch in an interview. “What catalyzed us in the first place was the idea that multi-channel commerce would become important, and over the last couple of years Covid has made that trend very clear. We have doubled in size. »
Salsify’s platform is for retailers, brands and the various partners they work with to leverage centralized inventory and product information, data that can in turn be used to power more unified experiences everywhere. where these products are sold. (Her favorite term to describe this is “digital shelf,” a point of reference, I think, for the many companies she works with and their massive traditional companies selling CPG products on physical shelves.)
In 2021, ARR grew to $110 million and the company now has 1,200 customers, up from 800 when I last spoke with them in 2020. The list includes huge names like Coca-Cola, Libbey, KraftHeinz , Columbia and Mars.
It’s Series F, and it values salsify (named after the widely-spread wildflower) at $2 billion. That’s a notable jump since the company didn’t disclose a number when it raised its Series E round of $155 million in 2020 (PitchBook puts it at $805 million, however, and before that at $308 million). dollars in 2018). This latest round is led by TPG, with participation from Permira’s Growth Opportunities Fund, Neuberger Berman Funds and the Cap Table Coalition. He has now raised over $450 million.
In a very active venture capital market for e-commerce technology – earlier today, another startup, Moot in the UK, which is developing technology to help brands manage cross-platform commerce – Shapes – announced $18 million in funding; last week, another company in a similar space, Productsup, announced $70 million in funding – this round and valuation makes Salsify one of the biggest contenders in this space.
And it’s probably one that’s catching the eye of even bigger companies considering consolidation, although for now Salsify is focused on being the consolidator itself. Last year, US-based Salsify (headquartered in Boston) acquired SKUvantage and Alkemics respectively to expand into Australia and France.
“Big brands want to operate at scale and that allows us to go into new geographies,” Purcell said. It also has operations in Portugal and the UK. Some of the funding will be used, Purcell said, to continue to enter more markets.
The challenge that Salsify faces is a pretty big one that has only gotten worse with the growth of e-commerce. From the basics of retail such as inventory management to payments and logistics, the operation of e-commerce is still too fragmented and complex. On the other side, the savviest companies are using technology that gives them an edge in handling it all, Amazon being perhaps the brightest example.
There have been dozens, probably hundreds, of tech companies founded on the concept of arming the non-Amazons of this world with tools that help them better compete and leverage Amazon. Salsify’s approach has been to approach the problem as “experience management” (which it abbreviates as XM and attaches to each of its various product lines), and to look at it holistically, in terms of how it applies not only to brands but also to retailers and the various businesses that work in this complex supply chain, all of which need information to do their job, but also can potentially provide critical information (e.g. on inventory) to improve the operation of the wider process.
This broader integration platform and functionality is also something that shows how well big brands have realized they need to work in the modern age – gone are the days when their relationships with traditional vendors and physical sales channels are sufficiently competitive with new emerging D2C competitors who are leveraging new platforms like social media apps and influencers to connect with new consumers.
This is also why investors flocked to the company. Purcell called this latest round “opportunistic”, as the company still had capital from its last round in the bank, but had been approached by investors wanting to work with the company.
“As consumer behavior increasingly shifts towards digital and omnichannel, there has been an evolution in how brands think about their technology strategy and how they evolve their technology stack,” said Arun Agarwal, MD at TPG, in a statement. “Thanks to its integrated platform, Salsify optimizes the shopping experience for brands, retailers, and distributors, powers consumer interactions, and enables consistency, simplicity, and agility. TPG has a long history of supporting leading SaaS companies, and we look forward to partnering with Jason and his team to drive Salsifygrowth and market leadership.