One-click checkout continues to stretch out its moment, and Sleek is the latest startup to get in on the venture capital action, where similar companies like Ownit, Bolt, Checkout.com, OurPass and Rapyd have collectively raised over $3 billion in investments within the past 18 months.
Toronto-based Sleek, which was part of Y Combinator’s summer 2021 batch, is developing a browser extension enabling one-click checkout and cash-back savings.
It raised $1.7 million in a round backed by YC, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Fiat Ventures, Goodwater Capital, and a group of angel investors that includes Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Tribe Capital founder Arjun Sethi, Forge co-founder Samvit Ramadurgam, and Kyle Daley, a member of the Chime founding team.
Adam MacEachern started the company with his college roommates, Daniel Baum and Palmer McCutcheon, in 2021. At the time, they were looking at the web browser and building financial rails for the browser that would work everywhere, not just on one certain shopping experience.
“Life happens online, but nothing harmonizes it,” MacEachern told TechCrunch. “Checkout has inconsistent offerings, so we are building a one-click checkout that works everywhere for everyone. In the near future, no one will be filling out forms, and we want to be the one making that change.”
Here’s how it works: You install Sleek on your web browser — currently it is in the Chrome Web Store — and create your profile, adding your credit card. Then you simply shop online, and when you are ready to check out, you can pay with Sleek and earn up to 25% cash back for purchases on top of rewards for shopping.
The product is still in private beta with thousands of individuals on the waitlist, and MacEachern expects to go public with Sleek by the end of the year. Despite not being public yet, the company has been driving revenue from day one, having secured over 1,000 retailers as it aims to grow its engineering team and customer acquisitions with the new funding.
Sleek makes money from its retail partners when a user checks out, keeping a small fraction as revenue and passing the rest on to users as the cash-back portion of its offerings. Some of the retailers already secured include Walmart, Macy’s and Booking.com, and MacEachern estimates that Sleek can increase cart conversion, especially as over 70% of carts are typically abandoned.
As mentioned, Sleek is among a group of companies going after a global self-checkout system market that is poised to be valued at $5.9 billion by 2026, up from $3.5 billion in 2020. And companies are working to find new ways to expand their footprint.
This week, Bolt and BigCommerce announced a partnership enabling merchants of any size using BigCommerce’s e-commerce platform to set up Bolt’s one-click checkout in a self-serve manner in minutes.
When looking at the landscape, MacEachern said people rely on embedding buttons on a site. However, Sleek believes embedding has a distribution barrier, which is why you don’t see them working on every site.
“Our extension is powered by machine learning to navigate checkout the same way humans would,” he added. “We are the browser level, so when they download Sleek, it is everywhere and works everywhere. That is the true experience of one-click checkout.”