COVID has changed online shopping forever as consumer preferences have shifted and the convenience of quick delivery without leaving home has surpassed the in-store experience altogether. Retailers have been forced to re-evaluate the framework of their offerings and deepen their relationships with customers through digital offerings. Clyde is a provider of extended warranties that integrates directly with the checkout processes of e-commerce merchants, giving consumers a seamless and convenient way to protect their purchases while retailers are able to add incremental revenue to their online sales. Clyde works with all the major e-commerce platforms through plug-and-play integration and also offers a flexible API option for custom integrations. On the backend, merchants can monitor the entire warranty program including performance, claim status, and customer information while Clyde handles the entire claims experience. Merchants using the platform are able to increase the warranty purchase rate to 18% from the industry average of 4%. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Brandon Gell to learn more about the AHA moment that led to the formation of Clyde, the importance of building customer loyalty in the digital commerce era, the company’s strategic plans, latest funding round from investors that include Headline, Vulcan, Spark Capital, and Crosslink.
Malls, Claire’s, tattoo parlors, a friend’s house, and jewelry stores may seemingly not have anything in common but these are the common venues people frequent in order to get their ears pierced, each offering a varied experience. Millennials and Gen Z favor experiences over possessions and getting your ears pierced at any of these places is not consistent with the new experiential economy. Studs has built the first-of-its-kind modern ear piercing studio that caters to the piercing needs of today’s most discerning millennials and Gen Zs. With a devout focus on customer experience, patrons at the studio receive personal consultations aided through technology and aftercare check-ins to ensure the entire experience is personalized. The company, founded in 2019, also offers accessibly-priced trend-driven earrings, both at its studio and direct-to-consumer online. AlleyWatch caught up with Studs Cofounder and CEO Anna Harman to learn more about the inspiration for the business, strategic plans, building in-person retail and e-commerce lines in tandem, latest round of funding from Spark Capital, Thrive Capital, First Round Capital, and Lerer Hippeau.
The pandemic has pushed more and more consumers online with both online sales and the percentage of online share of total retail sales surging globally. While this created a windfall for many e-commerce businesses it also drove up customer acquisition costs, making LTV even more important. Using technology to quickly, efficiently, and accurately understand the science of behavior when it comes to customer interactions has become instrumental for the health of e-commerce and retail businesses. Bluecore is an AI-driven retail marketing platform that helps brands and retailers create personalized campaigns based on the analysis of millions of customer data points. By understanding a customer’s experience throughout their journey, retailers are able to focus on creating loyalty rather than churning through single-purchase low-value customers. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Fayez Mohamood to learn more about why the e-commerce industry needs a native marketing solution, the company’s impressive growth, future plans, latest round of funding which comes at a $1B post-money valuation from Georgian, FirstMark, Norwest, and Silver Lake Waterman.
In this series, Lerer Hippeau dives into technologies and industries they’re excited about, going deep into their change drivers, and stakeholders while exploring investment trends and opportunities through an early-stage lens.
The US baby food market is expected to exceed $100B per annum by 2025. The importance of proper nutrition during early childhood cannot be understated. Yet, the incumbent baby food producers have a long history of using sugar, salt, and fat in their offerings. Little Spoon is a direct-to-consumer brand focused on providing high-quality, nutrient-rich organic food for babies and children, free of artificial sugars, preservatives, and, additives. The company ships nationwide with the baby offering (Babyblends) starting at less than $3/meal with the kid’s line (Plates) starting below $5/meal. The company recently launched its own online parenting community – Is This Normal, a resource-based destination for parents to converge around topics related to parenting. As the pandemic led the push towards unprecedented interest in digital and online solutions, Little Spoon recorded 300% growth year-over-year. AlleyWatch caught up with the Little Spoon founding team (Lisa Barnett, President and CMO; Ben Lewis, CEO Michelle Muller, Chief Experience Officer; and Angela Vranich) to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from Valor Equity Partners and Kairos HQ.
Millennials comprise the largest consumer group today, bringing new perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and outlooks into their purchasing decisions. Millennials and Gen Z are more reliant on technology and particularly social media for discovery of purchases. The art world is no different with a new generation of buyers reliant on digital channels; 79% of millennials reported buying artwork online more than once within the last 12 months. ArtSugar is an e-commerce destination for art and home decor that is catered to millennials and Gen Z collectors. Offering accessible price points, the platform also features popular artists from Instagram including Angie Crabtree and Betsy Enzensberger that have harnessed the power of social. Since the pandemic, the company has grown revenue 80% year-over-year. A portion of each sale goes to support charity. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Alix Greenberg to learn more about curating art for the next generation of art collectors, the company’s strategic plans, and recent first institutional round of funding from Curate Capital.
Adoption for contactless solutions such as QR codes surged during the pandemic as con-sumers 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 indicat-ed they used a QR code for the first time after March 2020 with COVID serving as an ac-celerator 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 from investors that include Coatue, Seven Seven Six, Weekend Fund, The Chainsmokers, Shrug Capital, Green Bay Ventures, Scott Belsky, Magdalena Kala, Mike Einziger, Ryan Hudson, Jesse Genet, and Nomo Ventures.
Brands are set to spend $15B on influencer marketing by 2022. But at the end of the day, these creators that are powering the sales for the brands are beholden to third-parties in terms of platform and partners. In response, creator commerce is a growing subset of e-commerce where influencers, celebs, and content creators are directly transacting with their followers and fans, on owned channels. Pietra is an end-to-end platform that gives creators the infrastructure and tools to build and launch brands or product lines. Similar to a Shopify that’s built specifically for creators that haven’t explored commerce, the platform connects creators to vendors to source products, establishes warehousing and fulfillment, and builds owned web presences. Pietra even provides inventory financing options. The company is launching out of beta with over 20,000 users on the platform and this round comes at a $75M valuation.AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Ronak Trivedi to learn more about supporting the creator economy, the company’s future plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, Abstract Ventures, TQ Ventures, and Michael Ovitz.
Pet adoption soared during the pandemic, increasing 34% year over year. As the world returns to semi-normalcy, many of these new pet owners will be spending less time at home. As a result, the 63.4M households that have dogs in the US will need to sequester their furry loved ones. Diggs is a pet products company that offers a signature, modern dog crate, Revol, with dog comfort in mind. Revol, which starts at $245, is a collapsible dog crate that making it easy to store and travel with. The designed-focused company also offers crate training accessories and memory foam crate beds. Diggs grew revenue 400% in 2020. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Zel Crampton to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans for new products, and recent round of funding from investors that include Venn Growth Partners and Strand Equity.
The pandemic forced nearly every industry to modernize. For the wholesale industry, the shift was embodied by the adoption of digital solutions that the industry had previously shied away from. With lockdowns shutting down showrooms and tradeshows, two of the primary mechanisms for B2B wholesale commerce to do business, digital platforms that replicated the in-person experience thrived. JOOR is a wholesale management platform and marketplace that connects retailers, vendors, and brands for fashion, luxury, and home goods. The all-in-one platform provides a seamless virtual showroom experience and handles discovery, transactions, and payments. There are over 12,500 brands and 325,000 retailers transacting on the marketplace currently with no signs of slowing down. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO Kristin Savilia to learn more about how the pandemic resulted in an enduring behavioral shift in the wholesale space, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Macquarie Capital Principal Finance, ITOCHU Corporation, Battery Ventures, and Canaan Partners.
Despite the majority of web traffic coming from mobile devices, the cart abandonment rate on mobile devices is significantly higher than that of desktop; an astonishing 85.6% is the average mobile e-commerce cart abandonment rate. One of the most common causes cited by mobile shoppers is a frustrating checkout experience that’s cumbersome on mobile. Nate is a mobile checkout app that allows consumers to complete their purchase of items from any website with a few clicks. All you have to do is share any item on the Nate app and click buy to complete purchases in seconds. On the back end, Nate’s AI-powered technology completes the purchase process, leading to increased customer satisfaction as well as increased conversion for retailers. The company charges $1 per transaction and that includes the issuance of a virtual card used in the transaction, which ensures that the shopper’s data is protected. Nate also recently introduced its own buy it now, pay later option along with some other ancillary features like gifting, sharing, and social wish lists. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Albert Sangier to learn more about how Nate powers mobile commerce, the company’s strategic plans, and latest round of funding led by Renegade Partners with participation from Forerunner Ventures, Canaan Partners, and Coatue.