Adoption for contactless solutions such as QR codes surged during the pandemic as consumers grew more comfortable using the technology that has been around for a number of years. In fact, according to a recent consumer sentiment study, 83% of respondents indicated they used a QR code for the first time after March 2020 with COVID serving as an accelerator for retail and technology innovation. This startup is betting that the QR codes will be a dominant part of the retail landscape post-COVID. Batch is a platform that enables brands to offer one-tap checkouts for their products. The startup works with brands to seamlessly integrate QR codes for specific products directly onto packaging or even into ads so that consumers can order the item in less than 10 seconds without a cumbersome checkout process. Currently, the platform will work with any Shopify merchant with plans to expand to support other e-commerce platforms.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO, Founder, and serial entrepreneur JD Maresco (cofounded Citizen app) to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, and recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $5M in seed funding, led by Coatue and Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six. Additional investors include Ryan Hoover’s Weekend Fund, The Chainsmokers, Shrug Capital, Green Bay Ventures, Scott Belsky, Magdalena Kala, Mike Einziger (Incubus), Ryan Hudson (Honey), Jesse Genet (Lumi), and Nomo Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that Batch offers.
Batch works with brands to feature QR codes on product packaging and branded assets — making it easy for customers to order or replenish a product in less than 10 seconds.
What inspired the start of Batch?
Batch emerged out of my own experience. I was frustrated with typical subscription models, but I still wanted to consistently engage with brands and products I loved, on my own terms.
I wanted a way to replenish a product instantly — directly from my physical environment. What if I could just tap my phone on a product and have more at my door within a day or two? That’s the magical experience I wanted to create.
Most innovation in reordering technology has involved clunky hardware, chatting with an SMS bot, or downloading another app. Batch meets the complex needs of the modern consumer by powering the fastest and most seamless shopping experience.
We’re bringing in a new era of instant, mobile-driven e-commerce that takes the best parts of shopping online into the physical world.
What market does Batch target and how big is it?
We’re seeing a huge shift in the way consumers want to connect with brands. This year, for the first time ever, over half of e-commerce will be conducted on mobile devices. The places where we engage with brands are increasingly as varied as the environments where we live our everyday lives. QR codes and NFC technology will grow to power commerce experiences that are increasingly contextual, casual, and social — providing a natural segue as we transition to mainstream AR over the next 5+ years. This is a massive emergent space and we intend to be the software layer that powers these interactions.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business??
We built Batch in response to the shift we saw in the way people wanted to shop, prompted by COVID-19. Spending more time at home, I got subscriptions for my go-to items: coffee, skin care products, and diapers for my kids. But I found myself consistently over or understocked. I wanted a way to reorder a product instantly, at the moment I engaged with it in my home.
I started thinking about the possibilities of featuring QR codes on product packaging. Consumers had already become acquainted with QR codes during the pandemic, and then Apple introduced App Clips in late 2020 to enhance QR-driven experiences on iOS devices. That’s when Batch was born.
What was the funding process like?
I raised our pre-seed from investors I knew from my past work, along with others they introduced me to. Our seed financing built on that momentum. Some of our most active pre-seed investors helped us accelerate the process, introducing us to the best seed-stage investors they recommended.
For our seed round, I tried to bring in investors who could help connect the dots around various go-to-market tests we were planning to run over the next year.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The most difficult part of raising funding is balancing the limited time you want to spend fundraising with the need to really get to know your investors before bringing them into the company. Funding rounds move quickly these days, so leaving enough space to talk to other founders who’ve worked with your investors before is an important step.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We will launch millions of Batch QR codes into the wild over the next 6 months.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We have an incredible team that has come together to make the Batch vision a reality. Initial funding will be used to scale our team and grow our capacity to help partners integrate branded QR experiences into their packaging. We’re also exploring various physical environments, like music venues, where Batch can transform the way we engage with brands and buy merchandise.