A Deep Dive on Checkout ChallengersRead more
Today, Bolt announced that it has raised a $68 million Series B financing to perfect the checkout experience for online retailers. We at Activant Capital led the round along with Tribe Capital, with support from retail executives at Allbirds, REVOLVE, Jet.com and Bombas.
The cornerstone of e-commerce is choice. As a brand, you not only have to offer a differentiated product but a seamless buying experience.
For brands and retailers operating outside of the Amazon platform, the technology that powers the e-commerce experience today is simply not flexible enough to meet shopper expectations. Shoppers demand a frictionless interaction, but like in many other industries, the legacy infrastructure behind e-commerce and retail is outdated. We know this firsthand as investors in the original e-commerce platform, Hybris.
Retailers need to reconstruct their customer checkout journey while protecting themselves against fraud, costly chargebacks and liabilities. But independent brands face significant structural disadvantages to Amazon. With new customers shopping each day, they don’t have the same advantage of saved accounts, profiles, aggregated data, and verified details that Amazon’s economies of scale provide.
At Activant, we are always searching for companies that empower independent retailers to better compete with companies like Amazon. There’s tremendous opportunity around applying technology to the checkout and solving for the fraud problem faced by independent retailers. We also get particularly excited about companies with innovative go-to-market or monetization models where they truly flip the economics of an industry. This is why we are excited to announce our investment in Bolt.
Bolt is fundamentally shifting the economics behind e-commerce retail by helping merchants avoid the tradeoff that exists today between fraud exposure and purchase conversion rates.
Through its end-to-end checkout platform with full chargeback protection, Bolt improves conversion rates and order approval by up to 15%, while eliminating fraud.
Bolt bypasses this internal friction by selling directly to business leaders as a single plug-and-play solution that maximizes revenue through increased checkout conversion and reduced false positive chargebacks. Bolt’s fraud prevention technology is unparalleled because their horizontal integration enables them to capture thousands of data points across the entire checkout process leading to increased chargeback precision and lower fraud costs.
At over $1 billion of annualized payment processing volume, Bolt has completed more than 1.5 MM transactions through the platform and helped customers realize more than $25 MM in new revenue.
Bolt is the glue that powers a holistic buying experience and connects dozens of disparate tools.
Brands choosing not to pay prohibitive selling fees on Amazon end up piecing together standalone point solutions for checkout, payments, and fraud, a hodgepodge of necessary solutions that don’t always fit well together and require substantial engineering resources. Checkout requires seamless integrations between not just these three components, but also subcomponents like coupons, discounts, loyalty, gift certificates, and back office operations. Checkout is the glue connecting all of these services. And building this glue is something that retailers struggle with.
Piecing together disparate point solutions also results in siloed data across systems that don’t speak to one another. Merchants experience this pain acutely between their payment and fraud systems, where customers are redirected across multiple steps, resulting in declined transactions and cart abandonment.
Checkout speed is measured in seconds, clicks, data entry fields, and redirects. At 34 seconds, 4 clicks, 12 fields and zero redirects, Bolt’s checkout is faster across all vectors. By comparison, Shopify checkout takes up to 69 seconds, 4 clicks, 15 fields, and 4 redirects. Bolt has line of sight to reach one-click checkout in the near future, resulting in a meaningful uplift in customer conversion for their merchants.
Beyond the technology, we are continually impressed by the Bolt management team’s ability to cultivate the top engineering and tech talent. This year, Bolt hired over 100 talented teammates from Google, Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, and Square. Bolt’s culture has been recognized by Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces in 2019 and the company was named as one of the Leading 100 Breakout Startups by The Lead.
We are excited to partner with Bolt as they transform the payments landscape by offering best-in-class checkout and fraud, with the goal of one-click checkout for the universe of independent brands.