E-commerce today is played out wherever a consumer sees something and wants it — be it on a company's site or app, a social media feed, a marketplace, a search, or an advert. Today a startup called Moot that's helping businesses and brands sell through all those channels in a unified way is announcing $18 million in a round led by Espresso Capital to expand its business both organically and via M&A.
On the first point, Moot is planning on doubling down on building more tech, including enhanced AI capabilities to help automate and analyze more of its customers' activities. On the second point, Moot said it already has two deals underway.
With the boost that e-commerce has had in the last couple of years, the company — based out of Staffordshire in the Midlands of England — has been on a growth tear. It's on track to make £100 million ($130 million) in ARR by the end of this year, after growing 300% year-on-year in 2021, with customers including fashion retailers like Timberland and Asos, media brands like House Beautiful, and dozens of others.
Moot got its start out of first-hand experience about the shortcomings of e-commerce solutions out in the market today. Nick Moutter, the founder and CEO, was building out an online housewares brand called Olivia's, initially using Shopify to run it.
As the business grew, however, he found that the tech it was using to sell across different channels were too siloed, and thus made certain functions like inventory management and more unified logistics very clumsy. He and his team couldn't find anything in the market that fit their needs — a platform that let the company manage selling across different channels in a unified way — and so they built it.
Over time, they were finding others approaching them to pay to use the tools, and eventually they decided to spin that business out. And thus Moot was born.
“We realized there was a huge demand in industry,” said Moutter, expecially among companies in “the second stage of growth, where they are hitting the ceiling of Shopify, and looking for more advanced solutions to scale.”
The company today lets a brand set up and sell through a variety of channels, including their own sites and apps, as well as third-party marketplaces, wholesales and more.
The key feature of the service is that there is a central database within the platform that can be updated to reflect activity across all of the different channels. Although e-commerce itself is a very fragmented experience — and so it should be, giving consumers lots of choice in the process — the idea with Moot is that it doesn't need to be similarly fragmented at the back end.
This is not completely unchartered territory: companies like Shopify and WooCommerce are also building solutions to handle this for companies as they scale and expand; and arguably a wide variety of headless and semi-headless solutions in the market like Commercetools are also addressing this same pain point. But given the size of the e-commerce industry — eMarketer estimates it will be worth $5.5 trillion in 2022 — the e-commerce as a service industry will have room for all of these, and judging by Moot's growth is likely in need of more.
That will see it bringing on more brands, but also a new wave of other companies that work with brands, such as the roll-up players, which themselves are growing by acquisition but in many cases are bringing in third-party technology to run those acquired brands more efficiently. That is where Moot would fit in.
“Moot is a leader in the fast-growing EaaS space. Their unique platform combining operational capabilities, advanced user experience, and customer acquisition technology is attracting a growing list of tier-1 global clients,” said Will Hutchins, MD of Espresso Capital, in a statement. “The rapid growth in e-commerce presents a terrific opportunity for Moot and we believe the company has the right team and technology platform to become a global EaaS leader, helping their clients provide highly differentiated e-commerce experiences. We're excited to be partnering with them on this next exciting phase of their growth.”