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Reaction Commerce, an open source ecommerce platform aimed at online retailers, has raised $8.5 million in a series A round of funding led by Google’s venture capital arm, GV, with participation from CrossCut Ventures, Double M Partners, Joanne Wilson, and Female Founders Fund.
Founded out of Santa Monica initially as Ongo Works back in 2013, Reaction Commerce’s “platform as a service” (PaaS) gives retailers tools covering catalog, product, inventory management, merchandising, payments, processing, and everything in between. The company’s paid offering is essentially an end-to-end platform for deploying and hosting shops and marketplaces; however, anyone can also gain full access to the Reaction Commerce codebase to customize and extend to their own needs.
The Reaction Commerce platform caters to single-merchant stores already, but the company is today announcing support for multi-shop marketplaces too, which will include features such as merchant onboarding, multi-shop checkout, individual shop branding, and split order support.
The story so far
Though Reaction Commerce has been on the go for around four years, the platform officially launched into general availability back in March 2017. So what has been going in the intervening years?
“We’ve spent the bulk of our four years building Reaction Commerce, making sure our platform supports all the core functionality a retailer or brand might need, from catalog management and inventory management to payment processing, shipping, taxes, and more,” cofounder and CEO Sara Hicks told VentureBeat. “Our managed (paid) platform also handles all the hosting and DevOps required to scale retail applications. We’ve been very active in the open source community. Our momentum in terms of support and contributor activity has been growing, but we’ve purposely been quiet otherwise.”
The company claims more than 2,500 installations globally each month. To be clear, these installations don’t necessarily translate into paying customers — it’s more about companies expressing an interest in “either building their new shop or marketplace on Reaction Commerce, or switching their existing shop over to us,” added Hicks, who wouldn’t divulge which (or how many) companies are actively managing their online stores using Reaction Commerce. “We’re already attracting major brands, from Fortune 10 companies and businesses in the Internet Retailer 500, to vertically native startups, and everything in between,” she continued.
Online marketplaces are key drivers of the so-called “digital economy,” with renowned brands such as Uber, eBay, Amazon, and Airbnb creating billion-dollar businesses by connecting buyers with sellers. This concept has filtered down through the startup ecosystem too, and we’ve seen significant investments in marketplaces covering logistics, local buy-and-sell platforms, niche online auction houses, arts and crafts communities, recruitment, second hand fashion, and more. Payments processors such as Stripe are also embracing the growth in marketplaces.
The open source element of Reaction Commerce is particularly interesting too, with the company claiming a community of more than 5,500 developers. It is worth noting, however, that a number of ecommerce platforms have gone to market with open source at their core, including Magento, which was acquired by eBay in 2011 before being spun out again as an independent company four years later.
But Reaction Commerce launched with a fresh take on things. Underpinned by a modern technology stack, it hopes to target the growing number of companies on the hunt for a new ecommerce platform. In fact, a recent Internet Retailer report found that around half of online retailers would like to switch ecommerce platforms.
“Retailers are looking to invest in their digital strategy, and a big part of that includes modernizing their technology,” added Hicks. “Reaction Commerce gives them the flexibility that’s required in order to move faster and take control. We often say ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ for commerce, so a platform that is open and completely extendable is vital for today’s retailers.”
Reaction Commerce had raised around $3.2 million in funding via local firms and angels in its seed round. With another $8.5 million in the bank, it plans to develop new platform capabilities and build its engineering and product teams.
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