Loop Returns, the startup that helps brands handle returns from online purchases, has today announced the close of a $ 10 million Series A funding round led by FirstMark Capital. Lerer Hippeau and Ridge Ventures also participated in the round.
Loop started when Jonathan Poma, a cofounder and COO and President, was working at an agency and consulting with a big Shopify brand on how to improve their system for returns and exchanges. After partnering with long-time friend Corbett Morgan Loop Returns was born.
Loop sits on top of Shopify to handle all of a brand’s returns. It first asks the customer if they’d like a different size in the item they bought, quickly managing an exchange. It then asks if the customer would prefer to exchange for a new item altogether, depositing the credit in that person’s account in real time so they can shop for something new immediately.
If an exchange isn’t in the cards, Loop will ask the customer if they’d prefer credit with this brand over a straight-up refund.
The goal, according to Poma and Morgan, is to turn the point of return into a moment where brands can create a life-loyal customer when handled quickly and properly.
The more we shop online, the more brands extend themselves financially, and returns are a big part of that. Returns account for 20 to 30 percent of ecommerce sales, which can become a terrible financial burden on a growing direct-to-consumer brand. And what’s more, the cost of acquiring those users in the first place also goes down the drain.
Loop Returns hopes to keep that customer in the fold by giving them post-purchase options that are more sticky and more lucrative for the brand than a refund.
The company thinks of it as Connection Infrastructure. Most brands already have a customer acquisition architecture, and Shopify and Amazon are ahead when it comes to the infrastructure around customer convenience. But the ties that bind customers to brands haven’t been optimized for the many D2C brands out there looking to make an impact.
“The big problem we’re trying to solve long term is connection infrastructure,” said Morgan. “Why does this brand matter? Why does it mean something to me? Why does the product matter? We want to enforce more mindfulness and meaning into buying.”
Of course, a more mindful shopper doesn’t yield as many returns. Poma and Morgan admit that the goal of their software is to minimize returns, the very reason for the software’s existence. After all, return volume is one of a handful of variables that help Loop Returns determine what it will charge its brand clients.
But the team is thinking about other layers of the connection infrastructure, with plans to launch a product in 2020 that also focuses on the connection point after purchase. Poma and Morgan believe, with an almost religious reverence, that the brands themselves will help lead shoppers and infrastructure providers to a better, more connected shopping experience.
“Brands are the torch bearers,” said Poma. “They will lead us to a more enlightened era of how we think about buying. Empowerment of the brand will lead us to a better consumerism.”
The cofounders stayed mum on any specific plans for the 2020 product, but did say they will use the funding to expand operations and further build out its current and future products.
Of course, Loop is playing in a crowded space. Not only are there other players thinking about post-purchase connection, but Shopify has itself built out tools to help with exchanges and returns, and even acquired Return Magic, a similar service, in the summer of 2018.
That said, Loop Returns believes that there is a long way to go as it builds the ‘connection infrastructure’ and that one clear path forward is actual personalization. With data from returns and exchanges, Loop Returns is relatively well positioned to take on personalization in a meaningful way.
For now, Loop Returns has more than 200 customers and has handled more than 2 million returns, working with brands like Brooklinen, AllBirds, PuraVida and more.
When you think of old, giant mainframes that sit in the basement of a giant corporation, still doing the same work they did 30 years ago, chances are you’re thinking about a financial institution. It’s the financial enterprises, though, that are often leading the charge in bringing new technologies and software development practices to their employees and customers. That’s in part because they are in a period of disruption that forces them to become more nimble. Often, this means leaving behind legacy technology and embracing the cloud.
At TC Sessions: Enterprise, which is happening on September 5 in San Francisco, Capital One executive VP in charge of its technology operations, George Brady, will talk about the company’s journey from legacy hardware and software to embracing the cloud and open source, all while working in a highly regulated industry. Indeed, Capital One was among the first companies to embrace the Facebook-led Open Compute project and it’s a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. It’s this transformation at Capital One that Brady is leading.
At our event, Brady will join a number of other distinguished panelists to specifically talk about his company’s journey to the cloud. There, Capital One is using serverless compute, for example, to power its Credit Offers API using AWS’s Lambda service, as well as a number of other cloud technologies.
Before joining Capital One as its CTO in 2014, Brady ran Fidelity Investment’s global enterprise infrastructure team from 2009 to 2014 and served as Goldman Sachs’ head of global business applications infrastructure before that.
Currently, he leads cloud application and platform productization for Capital One. Part of that portfolio is Critical Stack, a secure container orchestration platform for the enterprise. Capital One’s goal with this work is to help companies across industries become more compliant, secure and cost-effective operating in the public cloud.
Early-bird tickets are still on sale for $ 249; grab yours today before we sell out.
Student tickets are just $ 75 — grab them here.
Drip Capital is raising a $ 20 million funding round from Accel, Wing VC and Sequoia India. The company is helping small exporters in emerging markets access working capital in order to finance big orders.
The startup also participated in Y Combinator back in 2015. Many small companies in emerging markets have to turn down orders because they can’t finance big orders. Even if you found a client in the U.S. or Europe, chances are companies will end up paying for your order a month or two after signing a contract.
If you’re an importer or an exporter, capital is arguably your most valuable resource. You know where to source your products and how to ship many goods. But you still need to buy goods yourself.
And in many emerging markets, you have to pay right away. It creates a sort of capital gap.
At the same time, local banks are often too slow and reject too many credit applications. Drip Capital thinks there’s an opportunity for a tech platform that finances exporters in no time.
The startup is first focusing on India because it meets many of the criteria I listed. This could be particularly useful for small and medium businesses. Large companies don’t necessarily face the same issues as they can access capital more easily.
So far, Drip Capital has funded more than $ 100 million of trade. After signing up to the platform, you can submit invoices and open a credit line to finance your next orders. Family offices and institutional investors can also invest some money in Drip Capital’s fund and get returns on investment.
This isn’t the only platform that helps you get paid faster. But larger companies tend to do it all and optimize the supply chain for the biggest companies in the world. Drip Capital is focusing on a specific vertical.
With today’s funding round, the company plans to get more customers and expand to other countries.
If every company is truly a software company, Capital One is out to the prove it. It was one of the early users of Critical Stack, a tool designed to help build security into the container orchestration process. In fact, it liked it so much it bought the company in 2016, and today it’s releasing Critical Stack in Beta. This is a critical step toward becoming a commercial product, giving… Read More
Enterprise – TechCrunch
From a PPC Marketers perspective, Startups are looking for every advantage they can find to help launch their product or service to their prospected audiences. However, they have to be careful no to “bet the farm” too early especially when Venture Capital Firms are investing. With all of the popular marketing tactics of growth hacking and social media being forged into the generalized marketing strategy, its important not to lose focus on the basics. With that said, one of the fastest ways to gauge a businesses prospected audience and “move the needle” is with intelligent Pay-Per-Click Marketing. Hiring an experienced PPC Marketer can be a valuable asset to any VC that is looking to not only increase revenue for their portfolio companies, but also have the security and confidence of knowing they have the resource available to launch a new startup.
In this post, I will discuss a few reasons why having a PPC Marketing Consultant at the disposal of a VC can be a pretty good decision.
Start-up Portfolio Clients
Today where new companies are spurting up all over the world and advertising budgets are usually at a minimum, PPC Marketing can make a difference. One of the biggest benefits for Startup is to have their Venture Capital Firm recommend a trusted PPC Marketer who can come in and “move the needle” by providing a just a few of the following:
- Evaluate the Business Model as it pertains to PPC Marketing Tactics and Strategy
- Help the Company Identify Online Audiences and Demographic capabilities
- Perform a current PPC and Organic Search Competitive Analysis
- Help put together an initial 3-6 month Strategy based on Goals/Objectives
- Setup the Core Infrastructure for Web Analytics and Conversion Tracking
- Develop Landing Page Design Strategy for optimal Conversion Rates
The Agency or “In-House” Fatigue Factor
In some cases, a VC’s portfolio company might be in need of some “new and fresh” ideas of an outside consultant in order to “kick start” revenue growth. Having a PPC Marketer available (of course with a solid reputation and a high level of past successes) can take the ease off of everyone, because it eliminates all of the pain of vetting out different vendors and references, etc… so they make a smart decision on who to hire.
Perhaps, those companies who already have “in-house” staff that would not need to hire a Full-Time Consultant, but need an expert to come in and evaluate everything could be a very “cost effective” solution. For example, a PPC Marketer can provide an “in-depth” review of the following:
- Overall Strategy and Tactics
- Complete Quality Score Methodology
- Landing Page Evaluation and Recommendations
- Extensive Web Analytics and Conversion Analysis
- Other available platforms and networks not currently being used
- On-going optimization techniques and continued growth
For a Venture Capital Firm, whose main interest is to make sure their portfolio companies are profitable and continuously growing, having an experience PPC Marketer at their disposal is “no-brainer”. It all comes down to Reputation, Trust and Good work. If a VC’s portfolio company is looking to hire a PPC Marketing Firm, whom better else to recommend to them than their own VC.