Celery says your business can begin accepting preorders in less time than it takes to brush your teeth.
The startup has secured $2 million to continue development of its platform that makes it quick and easy to set up preorder payment systems.
“I saw how bad a lot of e-commerce software was when I was working with merchants at Groupon — a lot of the merchants I met were working with unwieldy tools,” cofounder Chris Tsai told VentureBeat. “[My cofounders and I] started reaching out to potential customers, and we found this huge pain point around preorders. Nobody had dealt with it because the crowdfunded economy is so new. So we tackled that, and that’s our springboard for our larger vision.”
Retail traditionally involves manufacturing products and then selling them. This approach requires businesses to estimate the amount of inventory they think they need, put money into marketing, and hope the product sells. If the product sells out, this creates a new set of challenges, such as unhappy and potentially lost customers and scrambling for fulfillment.
Thanks largely to the rise of crowdfunding, preordering is becoming more commonplace. Businesses can gauge interest and collect orders before going into production, so they create exactly the amount they need without taking on the burden of excess inventory. This is a particularly powerful shift for young businesses working with limited resources.
Celery’s system integrates with any website. Businesses can accept pre-orders and capture payment information without charging until the product ships. It also includes order management tools and features for customizable checkout process, modifying order line items, collecting shipping and taxes, and generating coupons.
Life after Kickstarter is a challenge for many teams as they struggle to turn a successful campaign into a business. Tsai said that Celery’s technology can help them accelerate revenue as well as avoid chargebacks.
The bigger vision, however, is to create “next generation” storefronts for all merchants and address a wider and more complex body of needs.
“E-commerce is a $260 billion industry, and until now, online storefronts have been one-size-fits-all,” Tsai said. “There’s a lot of technical debt and constraints to confront when you choose one of the incumbent providers. Online storefronts cost everyone a lot of time and energy. Ours can be installed in 90 seconds.”
Celery is currently building out functions for API integrations and native mobile purchase flows. It launched in May and is working with device makers such as Pebble Smartwatch, August Smart Lock, and Bohemian Guitars and apparel makers such as Hillflint.
It charges 2 percent per transaction. Other payment providers, like Stripe or PayPal, charge 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction.
Y Combinator, SV Angel, Max Levchin and others contributed to this seed round. Celery is based in San Francisco.
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