Your browser is currently blocking notification.
Please follow this instruction to subscribe:
X
Notifications are already enabled.
X

CommerceIQ Plans Wider India Presence After Raising $115 Mn At Unicorn Valuation

CommerceIQ Plans Wider India Presence After Raising $115 Mn At Unicorn Valuation

The round also saw participation from existing institutional investors which included Insight Partners, Trinity Ventures, Shasta Ventures, and Madrona Venture Group.

This investment will be used to expand CommerceIQ’s business globally and to accelerate the development of its ‘unified Retail Ecommerce Management Platform'

As part of the deal, SoftBank’s Priya Saiprasad will join CommerceIQ’s board of directors

Retail ecommerce management platform, CommerceIQ has raised $115 Mn in Series D funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. With this, the US- and Bengaluru-based SaaS startup’s total valuation has soared to more than $1 Bn, pushing it into the coveted unicorn bracket.

The round also saw participation from existing institutional investors which included Insight Partners, Trinity Ventures, Shasta Ventures, and Madrona Venture Group. 

This investment will be used to expand CommerceIQ’s business globally and to accelerate the development of its ‘unified Retail Ecommerce Management Platform.’ It also plans to expand its services in the Indian market and has consequently tweaked its algorithmic components to respond to shoppers’ behaviour not only on Amazon.in, but also local etailers such as Flipkart.  

The company employs 150+ people out of its Bengaluru office and plans to nearly double that by CY22. The startup will also use the investment to ramp up hiring across a slew of verticals including software development, data science, analytics, product operations, and customer support.

As part of the deal, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisors, Priya Saiprasad will also join the company board of directors.

The Genesis

The startup was founded in 2012 by an Indian expat, Guru Hariharan, who had previously served as a senior executive at Amazon. Hariharan was then building Amazon’s platform for seller onboarding and was told at a company meeting by then Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, to ‘automate everything.’ 

Hariharan who started building the platform, saw that while Amazon was moving by leaps and bounds to automate the entire space, the brands were reluctant to embrace the change. This reluctance was prompted by less awareness about the evolving tech side of the ecommerce world and an unwillingness to change. 

This is where the idea took shape in the mind of Hariharan who sought to act as a go-between layer between ecommerce platforms and big brands.

The result was Bengaluru-based Boomerang Commerce, founded in 2012, to focus on price optimisation solutions for ecommerce businesses. In 2018, Boomerang Commerce started developing ecommerce solutions for consumer brands, but later sold its retail business to US-based retail company Lowes. 

Left with the decision management tools, Boomerang Commerce rebranded into CommerceIQ in 2019. The SaaS startup operates at the intersection of retail and technology, offering software products that help brands sell on online marketplaces, manage their inventory and make informed decisions using predictive analysis.

Essentially, the startup offers products that enable retail companies to take pre-emptive action on ecommerce platforms if an item goes out of stock. It also helps the brands streamline their supply chain and take requisite actions in case a product is not visible on the ecommerce platform’s homepage.

Speaking to Inc42, CommerceIQ’s VP, Engineering, Prasun Kumar said, “Effectively, if one deploys our product, they are efficient on ecommerce platforms.”

The Right Fit

Kumar also told Inc42 that the SaaS startup essentially has four key product verticals. These include offerings for brands to be optimally visible on ecommerce search pages as well as products to manage ads and optimise promotions with least human involvement. CommerceIQ also helps big companies streamline their supply channels by enabling them to forecast their needs and requirements and allocate resources accordingly.

In addition to this, the startup also offers a professional services model. Under this, the startup offers consulting services to help ‘customers who are lagging behind in the ecommerce arena and bring them forward.’

The startup operates on an annual subscription model that is based on value-based pricing. 

The Design Fundamentals

Speaking to Inc42, Kumar said that ‘customer obsession’ was one of the major principles of the startup. He further added that they work deep towards ‘understanding customer pain points and resolving them.‘

Elaborating further about the design philosophy, Kumar said that the company aims to keep it ‘simple.’ He also said that the user interface was developed keeping in mind its clients and to ensure that business executives aren’t overwhelmed by the data. Kumar also added, “Innovation and simplification is our design philosophy.’

Eye On Growth

The company is primarily headquartered in the US and has a development centre in Bengaluru. Speaking about the fundraise, Kumar told Inc42 that, ”From a startup in incubation to a unicorn in 3.5 years, it surely does feel good. But, it also puts a lot of responsibility on our shoulders.”

Speaking about the company’s expansion plans, Kumar said that the company plans to be a category leader. He also told this publication that the funding will be used to launch multiple products in the near future and to further expand across geographies including the US and India. 

Elaborating further, he also said that the startup had a vibrant presence across the U.S and Canada, adding that it plans to expand to Europe soon. In addition, the company also aims to use the funding to fuel its Inorganic growth and to build new partnerships along the way.

The SaaS startup currently has 130-150 employees in India and around another 60-70 based out of the US. Prasun told Inc42 that the startup aims to double both the numbers over the course of the year.

The startup is currently focused only on big brands and has close to 2,200 brands in its kitty. These include Kellogg’s, Mondelez International, Nestle, Whirlpool, Colgate, Johnson & Johnson, among others. 

This comes after a bumper season for the company last year. CommerceIQ claims to have doubled its year-over-year revenue in 2021, adding that it also doubled its clients and employee headcount during the same period. The startup also added key executives and entered new global markets including India in 2021.

Remember, this new funding follows a $60 Mn Series C funding round it closed in June last year. In total, the startup has raised $200 Mn in funding from marquee investors over the course of its operations so far.

The Competition

CommerceIQ faces stiff competition from other major players like Edge by Ascential. In response to a query from Inc42 about how it plans to stave off its competitors, Kumar said that it was well funded, adding that the startup’s focus on its product and customer satisfaction helped them stand apart.

He further added that the ‘startup operated in an arena where everything has to be automated and that we provided the best.’

Speaking about the long term plans of the company, CommerceIQ’s VP of engineering said, “We want every brand on the planet to optimise through us.” On the short-term vision of the startup, Kumar said that the startup aims to increase its coverage across a slew of new geographies and plans to be an industry leader in the segment.

This comes amidst a bullish run by Indian SaaS startups. The Indian enterprisetech sector raised over $3.2 Bn in investments last year. Add to this, India houses as many as 16 unicorns in this space.