It’s now easier than ever for hardware manufacturers to crowdfund new products, thanks to platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But what happens when those crowdfunding campaigns are over? Increasingly, hardware startups hope to carry forward the momentum from successful campaigns to accept pre-orders for their products.
Y Combinator-backed Celery wants to be the platform they use to easily integrate pre-orders into their websites. And it just raised $2 million to do so.
Celery is a “pre-commerce” platform that’s made it easier for the large — and growing — number of hardware manufacturers to accept pre-orders for their goods. It does that with an easily embeddable widget that collects order information from potential customers and then later charges them when goods are actually ready to ship.
To date, it’s been used by popular hardware manufacturers for pre-orders of Pebble smart watches and August smart locks. But it also has a large number of “long-tail” clients who might not have raised millions via Kickstarter, but have had successful crowdfunded products that they’d like to continue taking orders for.
According to Celery co-founder Chris Tsai, the company can handle everything from the self-serve drop-in customers on the end of that long tail, who typically have raised less than $100,000, to mid-range partners who have more stringent requirements, to the high-end folks — the Yves Behar August Locks of the world, which have racked up millions in funding but still need a way to accept pre-orders.
That last group might want to build out or customize the pre-order widget on their own, and thankfully Celery has an API that they can just plug into.
Either way, Celery has built its platform to be forward thinking. If not mobile-first, it’s at least mobile-friendly. That enables manufacturers to drive higher conversation rates, as potential customers can sign up from practically any device with no hassle.
While now most clients are using the embeddable offering on their own websites, Celery also offers a full-service digital storefront that users can customize. That allows them to quickly create a place to sell their goods without having to build out an entire site of their own.
It’s the storefront business that Celery thinks will end up growing most quickly, and is part of the reason why the company raised new funding. It’s pulled in $2 million in funding from Y Combinator, SV Angel, and Max Levchin, among others, and plans to use the cash to continue investing in its platform.
Celery could face some increased competition from Shoplocket, which was recently acquired by PCH International to help the manufacturing specialist process orders for clients that are built on top of its supply chain. But with an already-impressive client list and now just a little bit more funding to build out its team, Celery hopes it can continue to grow its own business with the Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowd.