Nautical Commerce sails away with new funding to bring marketplace technology to the masses –

    Ecommerce marketplaces are big businesses. It was estimated that some $3.2 trillion has been spent in the best marketplaces worldwide by 2021, with companies like Taobao, Tmall and Amazon accounting for more than 60% of the activity, according to research firm Digital Commerce 360.

    With that number expected to grow at 14% per year, Nautical trade aims to provide retailers, B2B companies and brands of all sizes with tools so they can build their own multivendor marketplace, in just 90 days and without expensive custom software, to compete with the mega marketplaces.

    Before starting the company in 2020, founder and CEO Ryan Lee was at Apple and helped them launch Apple Pay. He explained that marketplaces take 2 to 3 years to get off the ground and several million dollars depending on the site.

    When building them, companies usually connect their tech stack with apps and software that were intended for those kinds of companies. And even companies with large development teams and budgets have failed to launch or scale a marketplace.

    “We bring together all stakeholders such as suppliers, vendors, drop shippers, affiliates, channels and influencers without re-platforming,” Lee told “This makes marketplaces an economically very viable decision because it is now approachable. We are also doing it in a phased approach to mitigate the risks of the project and ensure we have very clear milestones to deliver economic value as quickly as possible.”

    As we learned this week from Shop Circle’s fundraiser and others such as Upgrade, Fashinza, and Faire, the number of businesses providing e-commerce infrastructure has exploded over the past 2 years as everyone shopped more online.

    Nautical Commerce multi-vendor marketplace

    Nautical Commerce’s Multivendor Marketplace Dashboard Image Credits: Nautical trade

    While Lee did not disclose the sales figures, he said Nautical has grown significantly over the past 6 months, going from zero sales “to a very specific number”. It has also added new customers internationally that span verticals such as fashion, health, automotive, household goods, durable goods and manufacturing.

    Then came the interest of the investors. Earlier this year, London & Partners and reported that $51 billion of venture capital was invested in U.S. digital retail businesses in 2021, up from $23 billion in 2020. Globally, that was $140 billion last year, compared to $68 billion the year before.

    Nautical Commerce is also now backed by $30 million in a new Series A investment, and the company plans to use the money for technology development and expanding into new markets. It will also expand its engineering, product, customer success, and sales and marketing teams, with a goal of adding at least 40 new employees over the next 18 months.

    The round, which will bring the company approximately $33.2 million in total funding, was led by Drive Capital, with participation from Accomplice Ventures and Golden Ventures.

    Next, the company will continue to onboard the pipeline of about 30 new marketplaces and create awareness in industries that Nautical wants to focus on and help digitize, Lee said.

    As part of the investment, Masha Khusid of Drive will join Nautical’s board of directors.

    “Ecommerce is becoming more distributed and single-vendor platforms are not built for this multi-vendor future,” Khusid said in a statement. “Ryan and his team have built the only multi-vendor e-commerce platform and are addressing a huge need in the market. We are impressed with what Nautical has already achieved and are proud to enable them to fulfill their mission to democratize marketplace technology.”

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