You may not be all that familiar with WebLinc, but the company’s e-commerce platform powers the online stores of popular retailers like Nasty Gal, Urban Outfitter’s Free People and New York food emporium Eataly. Today, the company, which was co-founded by brothers Darren and Jason Hill in 1994, announced that after two decades of bootstrapping, it has raised a $6 million Series A round from SafeGuard Scientifics.
As the WebLinc team tells me, they decided to raise external funding now — even though they has been very successful without it for such a long time — because they weren’t sure they were able to bootstrap the next phase of the company. “There’s an enormous opportunity in front of us and the last thing we wanted to do was to look back with regret that we couldn’t put the resources together to fully take advantage it,” the team said.
Specifically, WebLinc says it raised this round to “ignite aggressive growth” and to accelerate the development of new features. Some of the funding will also go to onboarding more third-party integration partners and to expand the company’s marketing and sales teams. Specifically, WebLinc tells me, the company is looking at further developing its APIs for easy adoption of its services by system integrators and retailers, as well as its mobile omni-channel tools
WebLinc says its clients saw their revenue increase 54 percent year-over-year in the last quarter, with mobile performance doing even better, at a 94 percent increase. The company made an early bet on responsive designs, too, and there, its clients saw a 132 percent increase.
Looking at the market as a whole, the WebLinc team believes that its biggest challenge going forward is competing with companies that are much bigger, but the team thinks that if it can get in front of these prospects directly or through system integrators, they will see that its system is more cost-effective and scalable than those of its competitors. “Partnering with Safeguard will help us market more effectively and ensure that we can build the best implementation experience possible,” the team told me.