Shogun Raises $10M to Help Ecommerce Brands Battle Amazon

Shogun, a drag-and-drop ecommerce website builder, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Initialized Capital, VMG Partners and Y Combinator to expand its Page Builder platform and launch a new product that helps sellers compete with Amazon and transition to headless commerce.

Shogun Page Builder integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and Salesforce. Its ecommerce CMS software enables brands to quickly develop new landing pages without code, make adjustments to sales funnels and design digital stores, without compromising all-important page speed.

Over the 2019 Cyber Weekend, Shogun claims, store managers using its pages generated more than $22 million in gross merchandise volume (GMV). Major brands among Shogun’s 11,000 customers include athletic shoe maker K-Swiss, DTC mattress startup Leesa and watch industry disruptor MVMT.

Shogun’s funding announcement cites Google research showing 53% of mobile visitors will leave an ecommerce if it takes longer than three seconds to load, and the shift of ecommerce onto phones and apps ups the ante for maximizing site speed. We consumers are an impatient lot.

“Unfortunately, responsive websites and mobile apps have their own sets of issues,” Shogun said in its funding announcement blog post. “For instance, while businesses are able to design their websites for a variety of screen sizes, they still suffer from slow load times. This is especially true if their customers aren’t connected to a WiFi network or [don’t] have a strong signal at the time.”

Shogun said it will use the $10 million in part to launch a product called Shogun Frontend, enabling DTC brands to build sub-second page load ecommerce stores utilizing the power of headless commerce, i.e. the separation of the front and back ends of ecommerce sites, and progressive web apps (PWA).

“By utilizing headless commerce technology with a progressive web app setup, we’re able to make any website load faster and scroll smoother without compromising on features, quality or SEO,” Shogun said.

“Shogun Frontend is exactly the solution that our portfolio of brands as well as thousands of other emerging brands are seeking,” VMG partner Carle Stenmark said in the post. “It not only democratizes PWAs by allowing emerging brands to now cost-effectively compete in mobile commerce, it also allows for easier and quicker site iterations and testing — which is increasingly important — by putting the control back into marketers’ hands and removing the need for a massive team of developers.”

As an example, Shogun cited furniture and home accessories brand West Elm, saying it benefited from a 15% increase in average time on site and 9% lift in revenue with its PWA.

Shogun been a Shopify Plus partner since November 2018, and has elite status on BigCommerce. In 2018 it raised $2.1M in seed round funding from Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and others. At the time, Shogun said it was already profitable, with revenues in the millions.