This Seattle startup helps direct-to-consumer brands ‘take a page from Amazon’s playbook’

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The SoundCommerce team. (SoundCommerce Photos)

Be like Amazon.

That’s the mantra for SoundCommerce, a new Seattle startup which just raised $6.8 million to help online retailers improve their operational efficiency.

Founded last year and led by several former Amazon execs, SoundCommerce provides direct-to-consumer startups with software that ties together operations data from across merchandising, supply, fulfillment, delivery, and customer service. The idea is to help clients answer questions such as:

  • “Are we meeting our delivery promise?”
  • “What’s driving and detracting from profitability?”
  • “Are assortment, inventory and promotions aligned with demand?”
  • “Which markets, channels, and customers should we prioritize?”
  • “How should we treat this customer to balance profit with experience and LTV?”

SoundCommerce co-founder and CEO Eric Best, who previously sold Seattle marketing technology company Mercent to CommerceHub, said that Amazon has shown how investing in operations is paramount for e-commerce shops.

SoundCommerce CEO Eric Best.

“We want to help brands take a page from Amazon’s playbook and operate with the same data-driven sophistication that they apply to digital marketing,” he said. “We spend millions acquiring and reactivating shoppers. Let’s invest to the same degree in delivering on our customer experience and brand promises.”

SoundCommerce is focused on direct-to-consumer startups that are changing the way people shop online by removing the middleman. The company launched in April 2018 with nine retailers such as Lucky Brand and across various categories such as action sports and subscription food.

The software integrates with and pulls data from major commerce systems such as Amazon, Shopify, Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, StitchLabs, NetSuite, Dynamics 365, ReCharge and Salsify.

“The irony with SaaS is that it’s super easy to get up and running — with a credit card and some basic configuration — but these disconnected point solutions don’t see the big picture when it comes to operations decisioning,” Best said. “If I want to answer fundamental questions about my direct business, I have to stitch together data from a universe of different interfaces, data types, and data models.”

After selling Mercent, Best stayed with CommerceHub for nearly two years. He had a quick stint with Seattle startup Amperity and then launched SoundCommerce with Jared Stiff, a former engineering leader at CommerceHub.

Bay Area-based Defy Partners led the seed round, which included participation from Voyager Capital, Stage Venture Partners, Alliance of Angels, and other angel investors. Stage and Kick-Start Partners led the pre-seed round. The company employs 12 people at its Fremont office and expects headcount to more than double with the new funding.

“SoundCommerce is poised to capitalize on the value of operations data, beginning with the massive and growing consumer goods and D2C industries,” Neil Sequeira, managing director at Defy Partners who has joined the SoundCommerce board, said in a statement. “While everyone else prioritizes marketing, Amazon.com has proven that modern, intelligent operations are paramount to retail success.”

Defy previously invested in Seattle startup Shujinko. The firm also brought on veteran Seattle entrepreneur Sujal Patel as one of its “sage” investors earlier this year. Patel, who co-founded Isilon Systems (sold to Isilon for $2.25 billion), is leading a mysterious new biotech company that GeekWire uncovered last week.

Another notable connection: While he was at General Catalyst, Sequeira co-led a Series A investment round in 2008 for Portland’s Elemental Technologies (acquired by Amazon in 2015) with Erik Benson at Voyager Capital. Patel later joined the board at Elemental, where he first met Sequeira.

Defy is one of several Silicon Valley firms paying more attention to the Seattle startup ecosystem.



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