Swiftly, the grocery retail tech platform, has raised $100 million to expand its brick-and-mortar offering, co-founder Sean Turner tells Axios.
Why it is the BFD: The nine-figure price tag signals a robust appetite for technology that serves physical stores — and it’s particularly notable given how wary startup investors are about burning cash.
- “In the beginning it was iconoclastic, but now, in today’s market, [cash burn] is something that investors are really paying a lot more attention to,” Turner says.
- “We have always tried to run our business in a very capital-efficient manner. And we will continue to do so with this increase,” he adds.
What’s happening: The Seattle-based company raised $100 million in a Series C round led by Hong Kong-based BRV Capital Management, bringing its total funding to date to $210 million.
- The Wall Street Journal put the company’s valuation at $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion, citing known sources, a range that Turner confirmed.
The Intrigue: “From a capitalist perspective, this offers a lot of opportunities to do some roll-ups in space,” Turner says, noting that Swiftly could look to acquire point solutions and plug-in capabilities.
In the meantime, fresh capital will enable Swiftly to onboard brick-and-mortar grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores faster.
Yes and: Swiftly has captured about 10% of the grocery retail market and hopes to increase that market share with fresh funds, Turner says.
- Swiftly has also attracted retailers outside of its existing verticals, including electronics, home improvement and fashion, he says.
- “It’s a pretty active area of research,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of spaces to look for.”
Flashback: This is the company’s second funding in the last six months, after raising $100 million in a Series B led by Wormhole Capital in March.
Game Status: Founded in 2018, Swiftly took a disciplined approach in its early days to perfect its use of technology and demonstrate it could drive profitable growth before expanding its software to other businesses, Turner says.
- “Finding that one-size-fits-all economy in the early days I think helped prepare us for scale.”
The bottom line: Turner sees his technology as helping brick-and-mortar stores, even on the playing field with companies like Amazon and Walmart.
- According to a BCG study, about 68% of Amazon’s profits come from advertising through retail media. For Walmart, about 12% of its profits come through this channel.
- “That means they don’t have to make money selling stuff,” Turner says.