Cart.com, a startup founded during the pandemic aiming to be a one-stop shop for brands scaling up their ecommerce business, has raised $98 million in a Series B round to fuel further expansion, platform buildout and yet more acquisitions.
The round was led by Oak HC/FT, with participation from PayPal Ventures, Clearco, G9 Ventures, Mercury Fund, Valedor Partners and Arsenal Growth.
Since launching last fall, Houston-based Cart.com has been on a buying spree, snapping up companies with layered-in capabilities in fulfillment and supply chain (Cheap Cheap Moving Boxes), an ecommerce front end and branding services (Americommerce), third-party logistics (Sauceda Industries) and marketing (Dumont Project).
The company, which has now raised a total of $143 million, has also stood up an impressive 500,000 square feet of fulfillment space at eight hubs just this year, serving clients like Dollar General, Guess and GNC as well as 2,000-plus retailers and brands. It was co-founded in September 2020 by CEO Omair Tariq, former COO of Home Depot unit Blinds.com, Jim Jacobson, former CEO of RTIC Outdoors, and Saheb Sabharwal, a former managing director at CSL Capital Management.
Sabharwal said the company’s own rapid growth, plus acquisition and integration of new companies, has enabled Cart.com to have a unique window into the pain points faced by fast-growth companies it serves.
“We’ve learned a lot about things like handling inventory and distribution, meeting Prime’s rigorous requirements, doing marketing optimization and revamping entire online businesses to our storefront technology,” he said. “We’re seeing the results of scaling our own business, putting us in a position say, been there, done that, really appreciating the issues some customers face and saying, here’s how we solved it.”
Sabharwal agreed there are clear similarities between Cart.com’s end-to-end ecosystem model and the growing ranks of Amazon seller aggregators (and funding magnets) like Unybrands, Elevate Brands, Thrasio and Berlin Brands – with a twist.
“Amazon aggregators are essentially consolidating and creating synergies,” he said. “Sellers on Amazon want one portal to log into and one dashboard, that’s why they like us. It’s a huge audience of shoppers. But they also want to establish a direct connection to the customer and diversify with revenue streams away from Amazon. We view ourselves as enablers for ecommerce brands, scaling up whether it’s inside or outside Amazon.”
While Cart.com will continue to look for strategic acquisitions, with some “in the hopper,” it’s not looking to cover the entire waterfront in house, Sabharwal said. For instance, payments is one area where it’s partnering up with established players. “We’re doing that where it doesn’t make sense for us to build or buy,” he said.