Financial News - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Sun, 18 Aug 2019 04:58:59 -0400 RTP en-gb Lucidworks Secures $100 Million In New Funding Lucidworks Secures $100 Million In New Funding

Lucidworks, an AI-powered search solution provider, has secured a $100 million investment from investors including Francisco Partners, a global technology-focused private equity fund, and TPG Sixth Street Partners, a global finance and investment firm.

Moving forward, Lucidworks is focusing on building out its flagship Fusion software and enhancing its AI and data science platform.Lucidworks builds algorithms that bring in other data sources, such as past shopping patterns, a shopper’s location, what kind of walking a shopper might be doing, what other people like the shopper have purchased, to produce a more focused list of products a shopper is more likely to buy.

Additionally, the company aims to add other features, including more natural language processing and semantic search features, to expand both the kinds of queries that can be made and also cues that Fusion can use to produce results.

Lucidworks has raised approximately $200 million in funding to date. While it is not disclosing its valuation, the company says it has doubled revenues in each of the last three years and is now servicing 400 of the Fortune 1000, with global expansions into the APAC and EMEA regions.

“This raise validates our purpose: to create a new standard in digital experience, and deliver personalized customer journeys and valuable business insights to billions of people around the globe,” wrote Will Hayes, CEO of Lucidworks, in a blog post.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Wed, 14 Aug 2019 12:45:40 -0400
Klarna Secures $460 Million Funding Round For U.S. Expansion

0aaaklarnaappKlarna, the Sweden-based bank and payment giant, has raised $460 million in an equity funding round and is now valued at $5.5 billion. The payment company, which provides a “buy now, pay later” installment service for shoppers, said it would use the new funds to continue expanding into the U.S. market, which is already growing at a rate of six million users per year.

The Klarna shopping app, which allows its users to shop with Klarna at any store or brand online, has driven 3X more daily downloads than direct competitors, with 50% of the app users purchasing each week, the company said in a statement.

More than 130,000 merchants worldwide (3,000 in the U.S.) use Klarna, processing one million transactions daily for 60 million consumers. New partners TOMS and Superdry recently introduced the payment platform to their customers, while existing partner ASOS just extended the Klarna financing option to U.S. shoppers.

Klarna processes $29 billion of transactions annually, earning fees from them as well as interest from customers who pay late. In 2019, it made an operating profit of $19 million on revenues of $627 million. Merchants that offer the “Pay in 4” installments feature report a 68% increase in average order value, a 44% increase in conversion compared to cards and 21% higher purchase frequency.

Dragoneer Investment Group, a leading San Francisco-based growth-oriented investor, led the funding round. Other investors in the round include the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), HMI Capital LLC and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.

Klarna is establishing an exclusive partnership with the CBA to enter the Australian and New Zealand markets. Australia appears to be an attractive destination for installment payments companies, with businesses such as Afterpay, Zip Co and Humm all based there. U.S.-based competitors Sezzle and Splitit listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in 2019.

Klarna’s valuation rose from $2.5 billion at the start of 2019 to $3.5 billion in April when existing shareholders such as Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Sequoia Capital and Permira invested more than $100 million in fresh equity.

The Swedish company joins a handful of European fintech startups that are expanding into the U.S. German online bank N26, which was valued at $3.5 billion last month, recently launched its mobile banking app in the U.S., while British app-only bank Monzo started offering its services to U.S. customers in June.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Wed, 07 Aug 2019 17:02:18 -0400
‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Sezzle Lists IPO On Australian Exchange ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Sezzle Lists IPO On Australian Exchange

Sezzle, a Minneapolis-based installment payments platform, has gone public outside the U.S., raising $30 million USD with its IPO. The company now trades on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). In its first day of trading on July 30, the company saw its stock price jump as much as 80% to $2.20 AUD per share, which represented a market value of approximately $270 million USD.

The “buy now, pay later” formula that Sezzle uses is still more common outside the U.S., prompting the company to list on the ASX due to Australian investors' familiarity with the model. “The Australian market is several years ahead of North America” in terms of installment payments adoption, said Sezzle CEO and Co-Founder Charlie Youakim in a statement.

Australia appears to be an attractive destination for installment payments companies, with businesses such as Afterpay, Zip Co and Humm all based there. Another U.S.-based competitor, Splitit, listed on the ASX in January 2019.More than 10% of Australians use Afterpay and Zip Co, according to UBS.

The capital raised will fund Sezzle's continued focus on expanding its retail merchant base and product offering. Additionally, funds will go to product development and engineering, sales and marketing, merchant and customer support, data sciences and general administration.

As of June 30, 2019, more than 5,000 active merchants have used Sezzle, which is 52% more than the 3,321 active merchants reported as of March 31, 2019. Seezle collected $2.1 million in merchant fees for the quarter ended June 30, 2019, up from $1.4 million for the prior quarter and up from $0.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Sezzle is designed to enable shoppers to budget their payments over time by dividing purchases into four interest-free installments, essentially letting them shop for what they want without having to resort to high-interest credit cards or other payment options that may adversely impact credit scores.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Tue, 30 Jul 2019 15:53:30 -0400
Computer Vision Provider Acquires Image Recognition Service, Raises $100 Million Computer Vision Provider Acquires Image Recognition Service, Raises $100 Million

Trax, a computer vision and analytics solution provider, has acquired Planorama, a supplier of image recognition services. Trax also raised $100 million in additional funding, bringing its total raised to over $350 million. A person familiar with the deal says this brings the company’s value to $1.3 billion, according to Reuters.

The addition of deep learning-based image recognition technology from Planorama will help Trax build on its existing features, which include market measurement and analytics services powered by image recognition, machine learning and IoT platforms. These new solutions can help retailers build merchandising recommendations, monitor POS compliance and use shelf insights to improve the in-store customer journey.

Trax has been building its retail solution portfolio through moves including the acquisition of Shopkick, a shopping rewards app, in June. Trax sought to gain a better understanding of consumers’ online and offline shopping habits through the integration of its own technologies with Shopkick’s path-to-purchase offerings.

Additional acquisitions may be on the way; Trax plans to use some of its recent funding to look for more potential purchases. The money will also finance the miniature cameras that the solution provider puts in users’ stores to help track products.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Mon, 29 Jul 2019 14:08:15 -0400
Amazon Earnings Letdown Spurred By $800 Million In One-Day Delivery Investments Amazon Earnings Letdown Spurred By $800 Million In One-Day Delivery Investments

Three months after outperforming Q1 earnings expectations with a record $3.6 billion net income, Amazon saw net income drop to $2.6 billion, putting an end to a record profit streak of four straight quarters. While the company’s stock has reacted negatively to the news, dropping more than 2%, it is very clear that the profit hit is directly related to the more than $800 million spent on expanding Amazon’s one-day delivery capabilities in Q2.

“The story on everyone’s mind is the below-expectations earnings on the quarter,” said Chris Perry, Insights Manager from Edge by Ascential in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “This appears to very much be a short-term trade-off for Amazon, which indicated on its earnings call that the investments in one-day delivery during the quarter did weigh on profit but also contributed to above expected sales growth in its retail business. While it is too early to say what exact differences occur in shopper behavior with widely available free one day delivery, it is clear that a new consideration set of items is created when a shopper can receive them at this enhanced speed.”

The massive infrastructure investment will leak over into Q3’s expected profit totals. Amazon now forecasts Q3 operating income in the range of $2.1 billion to $3.1 billion, far lower than FactSet’s initial estimates of $4.4 billion.

Despite Profit Hit, Revenue Growth Continues

Although Prime Day revenue totals won’t be included until Q3 earnings are announced in three months, Amazon is still having no trouble bringing in the sales. Total revenue for Amazon jumped 20% from the year-ago period to $63.4 billion, surpassing Refinitiv estimates and rebounding from 16.8% growth in Q1.

Revenue from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud service that has been a massive growth driver (and chief profit driver) for the e-Commerce giant, gained 37% to $8.38 billion, below the $8.5 billion anticipated by FactSet.

In the “Other” category, which includes Amazon’s increasingly important online advertising business, revenue climbed 37% to $3 billion. Advertising and marketing are clearly becoming larger focal points of the Amazon brand going forward — marketing expenses grew 48% year-over-year to $4.3 billion in Q2, more than 20% higher than the next highest expense area for the company.

“With Prime Day investments nearing the presentation levels of Alibaba’s Singles Day 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, with concerts and experiences above and beyond the promotions themselves and the increasing number of products/services within their ecosystem to support, it’s not surprising to see their marketing spend increase vs. their 2018 investment levels,” Perry said. “It is not illogical to see the correlation between greater marketing investment and overall general performance in revenue/net sales growth.”

Beyond its earnings report, Amazon now must deal with regulatory scrutiny, particularly as U.S. and EU antitrust officials launch investigations into the company’s business practices. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky would not comment on the antitrust concerns during the earnings call.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 26 Jul 2019 11:08:31 -0400
Standard Cognition Raises Additional $35 Million For AI-Powered Checkout Standard Cognition Raises Additional $35 Million For AI-Powered Checkout

Standard Cognition, an autonomous checkout startup, has raised $35 million in a Series B funding round led by the EQT Ventures fund, with participation from existing investors Initialized Capital, CRV and Y Combinator. This brings the company’s total funding to more than $86 million and its post-money valuation to $535 million.

Standard Cognition will use the funding to continue efforts to sign customers in the U.S. and Japan, as well as to grow its team both domestically and internationally. The company plans to open autonomous checkout stores for two existing customers in Q3 and Q4 2019.

The company also operates its own 1,900-square-foot retail store in the San Francisco Bay Area where it sells a mix of food, cleaning supplies and general household and convenience store items. Customers can use the Standard Checkout mobile app to check in. The system identifies everything they are carrying and bills them as they exit the store.

Standard Cognition is setting itself up as an alternative to the Amazon Go model, with a system that only requires light-touch installation via cameras on the store ceiling and the ability to accommodate any existing store layout. Standard Cognition has committed to not leverage facial recognition or biometrics in order to comply with global privacy regulations, but it does use the data it does collect to provide insights to retail customers.

The solution provider also has bolstered its retail credentials by recruiting industry veterans as executives, with a team that includes Head of Global Operations Jon Nam, who previously held positions at Macy’s and RetailNext, and Head of Corporate Strategy and Growth Evan Shiue, who has worked at Walmart and PepsiCo.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Thu, 25 Jul 2019 12:52:11 -0400
Bolt Raises $68 Million To Bolster Online Checkout Capabilities Bolt Raises $68 Million To Bolster Online Checkout Capabilities

Bolt, a cloud-based online checkout platform, has secured a $68 million Series B funding round led by Activant Capital and Tribe Capital, with financial support from retail executives at Allbirds, REVOLVE, and Bombas, according to a blog post by CEO Ryan Breslow. 

With this funding, Bolt has raised $90 million in total. The checkout software company will use the capital to:

  • Grow its engineering team;
  • Invest in additional enterprise functionality for larger retailers;
  • Partner with more e-Commerce platforms, shopping carts and payments platforms; and
  • Expand globally.

In the blog post, Breslow revealed that Bolt recently partnered with online retailers DITA Eyewear, HUF Worldwide and Polywood. Bolt has more than 100 retail customers.

The platform is designed to combine checkout, payment and fraud detection capabilities under one hood, Breslow said. Since publicly launching in January 2018, Bolt has processed more than $1 billion in payments and has conducted more than 1.5 million transactions.

Already integrated with e-Commerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce, Bolt will introduce PayPal as a payment option in 2019. PayPal’s similar structure offers user accounts that hold shipping, billing, and bank information, enabling a one- or two-click checkout flow. 

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Mon, 15 Jul 2019 10:13:19 -0400
Depop Raises $62 Million To Fight Counterfeiting, Expand Globally Depop Raises $62 Million To Fight Counterfeiting, Expand Globally

Depop, a UK-based peer-to-peer social shopping app, has raised $62 million in Series C funding. The most recent financing round was led by General Atlantic, with investments from Balderton Capital, Creandum, Octopus Ventures, TempoCap and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, founder and CEO of Klarna, the Swedish payments company.

Targeted at Millennials and members of Generation Z, the mobile fashion marketplace intends to use the funding to grow its London-based engineering and data teams and implement more recommendation and image detection algorithms, specifically to speed up the rate of removing counterfeit or illicit items. Additionally, Depop will allocate this funding to expand internationally, specifically in the U.S.

CEO Maria Raga said the U.S. is becoming the eight-year-old startup’s largest market, with five million current users and a projected 15 million in three years.

Despite the rise of peer-to-peer selling platforms like Poshmark and Vinted and social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest increasing their e-Commerce presence over the past few years, Depop has seen 100% year-over-year revenue growth and brought in gross merchandise value (GMV) of more than $500 million since its launch. Depop takes in 10% cut of the GMV sold, working out to total revenues being about $50 million for the period.

This financing announcement was made before Depop launched its first two-day retail experience in New York City, which was open to the public on June 8-9, with shops, panels, workshops and performances.

]]> (Brianna Ruback) Financial News Wed, 12 Jun 2019 16:48:07 -0400
Zyper Raises $6.5 Million In Series A Funding Zyper Raises $6.5 Million In Series A Funding

Zyper, a peer-to-peer marketing software platform, has raised $6.5 million in Series A Funding, bringing its total funding to $8.5 million. The most recent financing round was led by Talis Capital, with contributions from Forerunner Ventures and Y Combinator.

Founded by entrepreneur Amber Atherton in 2017, Zyper will be allocating these funds to the opening of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, the expansion of its engineering and sales teams and the development of its predictive analytics engine and recommendation system algorithms.

The Zyper platform uses natural language processing and computer vision designed to pinpoint the top 1% of a brand’s most loyal customers. These shoppers can serve as brand advocates, providing user-generated content (UGC) to stimulate conversation about the products and services they are using.

The platform is designed to improve the quality, scalability and efficiency of community marketing by allowing brands to track and manage their fans automatically using advanced machine-learning models.

Zyper has worked with retailers such as Banana Republic, Coty, Nestlé and Topshop to help them build loyal communities.

]]> (Brianna Ruback) Financial News Thu, 06 Jun 2019 17:36:58 -0400
GameStop Comp Sales Decline 10.3% In Q1 2019; New CEO Reviewing Business GameStop Comp Sales Decline 10.3% In Q1 2019; New CEO Reviewing Business

GameStop reported a year-over-year total sales decline of 13.3% and a comparable sales decrease of 10.3% in Q1. The weakness was driven by a 20.3% drop in pre-owned sales alongside a 35% dip in new hardware sales and a 4.3% decrease in new software sales, which were somewhat offset by a 10.5% increase in collectibles sales.

The sales decline follows a disappointing 2018 holiday season when sales dropped 5% compared to the previous year. Additionally, the struggling retailer had been seeking a buyer but abandoned its plans in January, though it successfully sold its Spring Mobile division for $700 million in November 2018.

However, GameStop has continued realigning its leadership structure following the appointment of George Sherman as CEO, who said in a statement that he “has been undertaking a thorough review of the business.” The retailer appointed James Bell as EVP and CFO in late May and hired retail veterans for two new positions: Chris Homeister as EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer and Frank Hamlin as EVP and Chief Customer Officer.

Homeister, who previously worked as President and CEO of The Tile Shop and held leadership roles at Best Buy will be responsible for the company’s overall merchandise operations and strategy. Hamlin, who has been Chief Marketing Officer at both GameStop and Tailored Brands, will drive customer-centric initiatives in areas including marketing, loyalty and the omnichannel business.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Thu, 06 Jun 2019 11:14:44 -0400