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Armed With $50 Million In Fresh Funding, Bolt Helps Retailers Shift To ECommerce

With eCommerce taking off amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolt the checkout technology platform company is raising $50 million in a new round of venture funding.

The Series C financing was led by Laurence Tosi at WestCap and included participation from existing investors Activant Capital, Tribe Capital, Glynn Capital, and Human Capital.

With the latest round of funding Bolt has raised a total of $140 million since its inception in 2014. The eCommerce technology startup won’t disclose its valuation following the capital infusion other than to say it was a “material up round.” Last summer Bolt raised $68 million in a Series B financing round.

The fresh funding comes as eCommerce is seeing a huge surge in demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Online shopping was already a growing trend but the pandemic has quickened the pace of adoption. Thanks to shelter-in-place orders people across the world have been forced to purchase everything from food to swimming pools online. They had no choice but to get used to eCommerce and now they're hooked. “Brick and mortar was already on thin ice, “ said Ryan Breslow, founder, and CEO of Bolt. “COVID accelerated it.”

Bolt’s cloud-based platform combines checkout, payments, and fraud protection in one product to allow retailers to better compete against Amazon AMZN +5.9% which has perfected the one-click shopping experience. For the past two years it has grown at three times sales year-over-year, and halfway through 2020 it's already realized that growth rate. Breslow anticipates Bolt will end the year growing five times last year’s sales. That’s being driven by the urgent shift on the part of retailers to sell online. “A lot of customers are seeing record rates in sales because of the new investments online. There are lots of new customers,” said Bolt’s CEO.

Bolt isn’t the only fintech to raise capital during the pandemic. In June Varo Money, the mobile banking startup raised $241 million in venture funding. Just like Bolt, Varo has seen an uptick in business and more importantly a shift in behavior as a result of COVID-19.

Bolt Wants to Help All Sized Retailers

Aiming to capitalize on the shift to eCommerce, Bolt also announced the launch of its Checkout Experience Platform, which provides retailers with one technology stack to handle all aspects of checkout. Through the platform, Bolt said retailers can present payment options, process payments securely, reduce fraud, and improve shopping cart conversion rates. The latter is important since 70% of online sales are lost at checkout. Breslow says Bolt’s platform can improve that and speed up the checkout process, cutting the time for its customers’ websites in half.

“People have more options than ever before when shopping online, and retailers must provide the best experience or customers will move on,” said Laurence Tosi, Former CFO at Airbnb and Founder of Westcap. “And the stakes are especially high right now. Businesses across the globe have no choice but to transition to digital, and I am confident that this injection of new will capital accelerate Bolt towards its goal of empowering the majority of independent e-commerce by 2025.”

Proceeds from the funding round will go toward developing smarter checkout conversion products, improving the approval engine, hiring engineers, and expanding partner integration. “With retailers relying on us to deepen the functionality all of this funding goes to making sure merchants are stronger,” said Breslow. “We're in a lucky space. Investors understand commerce is changing at an unprecedented rate. It took ten years for eCommerce to jump 11% and eight weeks during the pandemic for the next 11% of growth.”

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