Salsify, which provides brands and the companies behind them a single place to track product inventories, has closed $155 million in a Series E round of financing led by Warburg Pincus, with other unnamed investors participating.
Jason Purcell, the CEO and co-founder who co-founded the company with Jeremy Redburn (chief data officer) and Rob Gonzalez (CMO), said the company would not be disclosing its valuation but only confirmed that it was a “significant proud” compared to Salsify’s valuation in its last fundraise, which was $308 million, according to data from PitchBook.
The funding is coming on the back of a big 2020 for Salsify, which, like a lot of other companies working in the wider area of e-commerce, has seen strong tailwinds resulting from Covid-19. Specifically, with many continuing to comply with social distancing rules, there has been a big shift for shopping and browsing for goods online.
“Companies realize they need a strong digital footprint,” Purcell said simply in an interview. “Whether it’s Amazon or another marketplace, or their own site, what Covid has done is give many brands a fraction of the thought process: if we don’t have a strong digital footprint, we won’t be able to engage.”
The company is tackling a very fundamental (but I guess “happy”) problem in the world of online commerce. It’s an extremely fragmented landscape, with a huge number of potential ways for a brand to connect with potential customers: their own sites, those of other retailers, larger marketplaces, social channels, direct sales using messaging or email, and much more.
And that’s before you factor in the offline channels that are still very much in use, despite the turn to online shopping for many of us.
This is, in fact, the rationale for the name of the company, too, Purcell told me. The salsify might be known by some as a black root vegetable that looks a bit like a thin white carrot when peeled but with a sweet and mild taste. But it’s also a wildflower that is a bit like a dandelion: it grows everywhere and its blooms spread far and wide, a metaphor for the wide, fragmented world of online commerce. Purcell said he and the founders originally wanted to name the company “Dandelion” but it was taken (indeed, there are a lot of dandelion-themed businesses) so Salsify it was.