Bold Commerce raises $27 million to power ‘headless’ ecommerce with APIs

Bold Commerce, a company that builds tools and integrations for ecommerce stores, has raised $27 million in a series B round of funding led by Omers Ventures.

The funding comes as retailers across the spectrum have had to rapidly embrace ecommerce due to the global pandemic, with some companies better positioned than others to capitalize on the seismic shift in how people buy things. Bold Commerce seeks to help businesses of all sizes extend their capabilities, with a modular suite of products spanning checkout, subscriptions, and price rules, which provide dynamic pricing that changes based on a pre-defined rules such as customer profile or location.

Although Bold Commerce comes with a bunch of pre-built integrations that allow businesses to integrate Bold Commerce’s technology into the likes of Shopify, Woo Commerce, and Big Commerce, at the heart of the Bold Commerce platform is APIs, which opens its technology to any other platform. This supports a so-called “headless” architecture, where the frontend content and backend smarts are decoupled, enabling greater agility and freedom to combine whatever technologies they want for each touchpoint.

Above: Bold Commerce: Subscriptions

Bold CEO Yvan Boisjoli thinks retailers are currently more focused on enacting entire overhauls of their online operations and tech stacks, rather than looking at data to make “incremental” enhancements as they may have done in the past.

“Whereas in the past brands sought analytics and data insights to make incremental improvements, they’re now looking to completely overhaul their infrastructure and reinvent their business processes,” Boisjoli told VentureBeat. “Much of this is a result of what they learned from data insights they’ve been watching so closely for years, but it’s more so in response to major shifts in market and consumer dynamics. Analytics and data insights for now have taken a back seat for us during this reinvention stage, where the lift is heavier and broader — less granular.”

Above: Bold CEO Yvan Boisjoli

One example Boisjoli cited was recent work it did with Staples Canada so that it could offer curbside pickup at a time when customers are wary of venturing indoors in crowded public places.

“This concept is simple from a user perspective, but the infrastructure necessary to make it happen touches multiple systems and processes,” Boisjoli said. “Even the most robust ecommerce platform alone can’t achieve this process on its own.”

Founded out of Winnipeg, Canada in 2013, Bold Commerce had previously raised $16.5 million in a round of funding back in 2019, and with a fresh $27 million in the bank, the company is well-financed to “power transactions anywhere that shoppers interact with brands,” as the company puts it. This means that it wants to help retailers convert shoppers beyond the shopping cart, including on product pages, social networks, in-store kiosks, voice commerce, and more.

The API economy

Bold claims more than 50 integrations spanning payment gateways, order management, tax, fraud, shipping, and marketing automation, and the company said that its funding will be used to grow its marketplace of pre-built integrations which will include direct arteries into enterprise software including CRM, ERP, CMS, and more.

Above: Bold Commerce integrations

But the big trend that companies such as Bold Commerce is helping to drive is the so-called API economy, which has risen as a result of the gradual shift to the cloud and modular, microservices-based software architecture.

“We’ve seen the deconstruction of industries before, and we’re seeing it happen again now,” Boisjoli said. “The API approach allows for the customization and integration, and by enabling third-party products to speak to one another, companies get to decide what the best experience for their consumers is and design it based on their intimate knowledge of their businesses, rather than relying on the technology provider to create the vision for them.”

Demand for APIs across industries will only grow, evidenced by a slew of recent activity in the space. Last year, API development platform Postman raised $150 million at a $2 billion valuation, while MessageBird raised $200 million at a $3 billion valuation, and API marketplace RapidAPI secured $25 million. And just yesterday, Apilayer, which develops a range of real-time data APIs for customers including Amazon, Apple, Slack, and Facebook, was acquired by Idera.

“Our piece in this puzzle is that Bold Checkout serves as the orchestration layer for other technologies,” Boisjoli added. “And of course we connect with any open API technology, so brands get the flexibility they need.”


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