Small Biz

Venice startup Lettuce raises $2.1 M in seed round

Top photo: Lettuce logo.  Courtesy Lettuce.

Above: Top photo: Lettuce logo. Courtesy Lettuce.

Image Credit: Lettuce

VENICE, Calif. — For small businesses, order management can be a cumbersome and expensive ordeal.  Venice-based startup Lettuce hopes to simplify the process with its new automated order-and-inventory-management-system.

VentureBeat met with Lettuce chief executive Raad Mobrem during last week’s Seimer Silicon Beach Summit to discuss his company, which just raised  $2.1 million in seed funding.

CrossCut Ventures led the seed round, which included investments from 500 Startups, Launchpad LA, Baroda Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, Double M Capital and other angel investors, according to Mobrem.

Lettuce’s target clients are small wholesalers and e-commerce sites that need an efficient and inexpensive tool to manage their orders, said Mobrem.  The CEO explained the traditional way these types of businesses processed orders into their backend systems: “Once you get that order, you have to process it and input it into your accounting system, you have to put it into your CRM [customer relationship management], you have to put it into your shipping software, like UPS or FedEx or USPS, into credit card processing, and then you also have to account for inventory somehow.”

Lettuce’s CEO says that before his company, the available order-management software burdened businesses with clunky, non-intuitive designs, and the accompanying hassle of repetitive data-entry. Mobrem believes that his company has found an optimal way to streamline backend data-entry.

“What we do is integrate all those commonly-used back-end systems, like Salesforce, Printforce, UPS, USPS, we also integrate credit card processing, like Stripe or Authorize.net, and then on top of that we provide our own inventory system, that’s very simple but also very powerful,” Mobrem said. “So now, instead of you going in and typing into all of these back-end systems, you review all the orders, you click on one button and it processes it for you.”

Mobrem took a jab at the “big systems” competing for his share of the market, singling out NetSuite, saying it takes “hundreds of thousands of dollars in getting it set up,” and saddles users with high monthly costs.

Mobrem claims that Lettuce can reduce costs by 95 percent compared to NetSuite.

“Most of the time, time equals money with your employees.  So, to do that, if you have two inside sales reps, and let’s say they’re spending all their time processing orders, and we reduce that by 95 percent, that means now they actually have time to actually do more sales.”

Mobrem and his business partner and co-founder, Frank Jones, came up with the idea for Lettuce while running a small, wholesale dog-toy-company called Durable Ideas.  Mobrem and Jones encountered two problems with their pet product business: “one, getting the order back to our office in an efficient way, and second, getting that order into all of our systems.”

The solution to the entrepreneurs’ troubles came in the form of a mobile iPad app, which they developed, and which allowed them to display their products “in a really beautiful way” and “capture orders in real-time,” said Mobrem.

“We built this product literally out of a need and the funny part was, we never had any intention of doing this.  We were going to tradeshows and other companies that were exhibiting would see our product and they’d literally leave their booths, stop doing sales and come ask us “are you guys taking orders off iPad?” said Mobrem.

After realizing that their technology could solve a problem across business verticals, Mobrem and Jones decided to start Lettuce.

Lettuce launched less than two months ago and employs twelve people, said the CEO.  Mobrem says Lettuce’s software is compatible with iPads and web-enabled computers.  Lettuce has already processed $2 million worth of orders and charges businesses a fee of $29 to $119 a month to use its software, he added.


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