Medusa’s open source e-commerce tool for JavaScript developers aims to take on Shopify


Medusa e-commerce APIsNicklas Gellner, Sebastian Rindom, and Oliver Juhl
Image Credits: Medusa / Medusa co-founders Nicklas Gellner, Sebastian Rindom and Oliver Juhl

Merchants building businesses on giant marketplaces often have to think inside the marketplace’s box, but Medusa, a one-year-old e-commerce startup from Denmark, is going after e-commerce platforms, like Shopify and WooCommerce, with its open source alternative aimed at the JavaScript developer community.

Co-founders Sebastian Rindom, Oliver Juhl and Nicklas Gellner started the company a year ago, though they have been working on the software for four years with an initial customer. What they found, by helping that customer scale their business via marketplaces Shopify and WooCommerce, was that they had to do some more coding workarounds and hacks than they thought should happen.

“You are constrained on how to build software for customers to see scale,” Rindom told TechCrunch. “The customer was bullish on e-commerce and wanted to double their revenue in a year, so we worked to figure out what platform they could migrate to to make that happen, and Medusa was what resulted.”

The company’s technology is essentially APIs that provide a “headless” offering — meaning the shop front technology is separated from the back technology so customizations and maintenance can be made in one section without disrupting the other — for merchants that want to be more in control of their e-commerce tech stack.

Shopify breaks out of the website with 100+ new features including NFTs, local shopping and more

Rather than hacking your way through, users can tap into default implementations that Rindom says are equivalent to Shopify features, including APIs that connect to various tools, including payment providers, logistics tools and customer management systems. Then when users outgrow those, they can plug into a third-party tool or create one themselves.

Rindom explained that current marketplaces provide certain basic APIs to integrate with, but if you want to experiment with fulfillment, subscriptions or a wholesale channel, it requires access outside of that standard API. Instead, Medusa provides a more modular architecture that enables users to do anything.

It’s clear that even Shopify sees the need for more features for its users to quickly get up-and-running. The future of the digital commerce software market will be driven by the growth of the e-commerce market itself, which is poised to be a trillion-dollar market within the decade.

We’ve also seen venture capital investment pick up in the areas with companies like Fabric, Shopware, CommerceIQ and Swell getting funding within the past six months for headless commerce approaches and infrastructure. Other startups, like Shop Circle, are also developing software for Shopify merchants to do more on the marketplace.

Medusa itself is among that group having raised $8 million in seed funding in a round co-led by LocalGlobe and Dawn Capital, with participation of a group of individual investors, including Squarespace founder and CEO Anthony Casalena, Algolia founder Nicolas Dessaigne and former GitLab executive Scott Williamson. Combined with a pre-seed round from Seedcamp last year, the company has brought in close to $9 million in total funding.

Much of the technology in this space, including Shopify, is over a decade old, which made Medusa an attractive investment, said Mina Mutafchieva, partner at Dawn, in a written statement.

“As a result, the pain points for e-commerce merchants are exploding and most, if not all, we at Dawn have spoken to in the last two years, use inefficient ‘work-arounds’ to achieve their business goals,” Mutafchieva added. “Balancing the right level of a user-friendly API-first approach with a great degree of customizability, Medusa’s product is a dream for developers and merchants who need to customize their platforms while maintaining maximum performance and response times.”

Medusa is already active in e-commerce shops, selling in excess of $100 million a year, and in less than a year has amassed a community of more than 2,000 developers that started some 10,000 projects on the platform.

Rindom did not disclose revenue figures, in part because there is no monetization play at the moment. It is something being planned, he said, but the company is more focused at the moment on validation of its technology and driving adoption.

That focus is where the funding will ultimately be deployed, which includes building products and small APIs, creating content around those APIs and setting materials on how to use them. Medusa looks to hire additional developers and engineers and to invest more heavily in community efforts and establishing partnerships.

Future plans include building a cloud tool for the product that will enable users to connect their GitHub repository to Medusa’s infrastructure to control its tools. That is something the company will charge for, but “is still a bit ahead for the future,” Rindom said.

4 trends that will define e-commerce in 2022

More TechCrunch

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

17 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

18 hours ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise

X, formerly Twitter, turned TweetDeck into X Pro and pushed it behind a paywall. But there is a new column-based social media tool in town, and it’s from Instagram Threads.…

Meta Threads is testing pinned columns on the web, similar to the old TweetDeck

As part of 2024’s Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is showing off some updates to Android that should be useful to folks with mobility or vision impairments. Project Gameface allows gamers…

Google expands hands-free and eyes-free interfaces on Android