Amazon might have a market cap of over $1 trillion; however, CEO of Y Combinator-backed startup Shogun, Finbarr Taylor, stated the e-commerce giant is “kind of dropping the ball.”
Take on Amazon
Specifically, he contended that the experience of shopping on Amazon, not what occurs after you buy something; however, browsing the website itself is pretty bad and filled with sponsored results and fake products.
“What we’re seeing happen is that all this vast wave of direct-to-consumer brands is nibbling around edges of Amazon and beating them on buying experience,” Taylor said.
Shogun was made to provide support to those brands. Taylor and his co-founder Nick Raushenbush created the first product in 2015, and at first, they considered it as a side project. However, Taylor stated that by May 2017, “It ate up all of our free time and it was obviously much bigger than we expected,” so they left their jobs (Taylor was a software engineer at Y Combinator) and devoted their full time to it.
The company has now amassed 11,000 customers, consisting of K-Swiss, MVMT, and Leesa. And today, Shogun is declaring that it has managed to raise $10 million in a Series A funding, led by Initialized Capital. VMG Partners and YC also participated in the round. The new amount raised brings the total of the raised amount to $12 million.
The first product of the company, Page Builder, provides a drag-and-drop interface to make it simpler for e-commerce brands to create their storefronts on BigCommerce, Shopify, Salesforce, and Magento.
And their latest product, Shogun Frontend, which enables brands to make a web storefront that’s completely customized while still utilizing one of the big commerce platforms as their back end.
Taylor demonstrated this as part of a bigger trend toward “headless commerce,” where front end and back end of the e-commerce are handled separately. He proposed that this is a “mutually beneficial” division, as Shopify and its competitors are going “super deep” on creating the infrastructure required to run a store online, while Shogun aims at the experience of the customer arriving at that store.
Meanwhile, website makers such as Squarespace and Weebly (owned by Square) have brought in e-commerce features; however, Taylor proposed that they’re still “not really a professional choice” for many e-commerce businesses.
As one of the crucial features of Shogun Frontend, Taylor highlighted the fact that it makes dynamic web apps that should perform as fast and smooth as a native app.
Brett Gibson, the general partner at Initialized Capital and a Shogun board member, made the same point in a statement, “For DTC brands competing against goliaths like Amazon, Shogun Frontend now gives them features and capabilities once only reserved for enterprise companies. And when it comes to speed, Shogun Frontend’s sub-second load time is the critical difference between retaining or losing a customer.”
Taylor added that the company is going to be “continuing to invest in Page Builder too,” but he suggested that Frontend is “more of an enterprise offering” that can support Shogun’s biggest customers “future proof themselves.”
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