ESW to Acquire Scalefast 🚀
by Nico Goulet, Managing Partner
Today we are proud to announce that ESW, the world’s leading global direct-to-consumer (DTC) eCommerce company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, has agreed to acquire Scalefast, an Adara portfolio company and leading end-to-end eCommerce solution provider.
We first met the Scalefast founders Nicolas Stehle (CEO), Frédéric Bocquet (CTO), and Olivier Schott (CMO) in 2018, and we were instantly impressed with the team. Adara Ventures invested in Scalefast’s Series A round in 2018 and again in 2020 for their Series B round.
We are honored to have partnered with Nicolas, Frédéric, Olivier, and the entire team on this journey, and thankful for the support of co-investors Benhamou Global Ventures, Crédit Mutuel Equity, Xplorer Capital, Stereo Capital, FJLabs, and others.
The Scalefast story: Cross-border eCommerce as a Service
In 2014, Scalefast’s founders noticed a critical gap in the eCommerce world: it was becoming increasingly important for brands to sell directly to consumers to retain customers and build brand loyalty; however, brands were struggling to do so due to the time, cost, and risk associated with building in-house eCommerce channels.
They realized that, for many brands, building the IT infrastructure to support international eCommerce was a huge challenge. Companies were committed to selling direct to consumers, but were massively underperforming. At the time, the only options were to set up expensive infrastructure that was hard to adapt and scale — or settle for simplistic solutions that couldn’t meet enterprise needs.
Scalefast launched as a solution to handle the entire eCommerce direct-to-consumer sales channel process domestically and internationally, including store design and localization, logistics, customer service, local payments, tax & compliance management, and even fraud prevention, giving brands peace of mind and allowing them to focus on creating great products, growth, and revenue.
“Global E-commerce is very complex, risky and costly for brands. Although strategic for brands, building a direct-to-consumer ecommerce sale channel is not core business for them. Scalefast brings everything a brand needs under one roof: the platform, the infrastructure, the operation and the people. Globally. ”
– Nicolas Stehle, Scalefast CEO
Thinking global, acting global from day one
Scalefast decided to target a global market from day one. While CTO Frederic Bocquet set up the European headquarters and core operations teams in Madrid, Nicolas Stehle and Olivier Schott headed to Los Angeles, California to establish Scalefast’s presence in the US.
This strategy worked, and since 2014, Scalefast has grown into a team of over 350 employees, located primarily in Madrid.
After closing its $22M Series B funding round in June 2020, Scalefast doubled down on its offerings. Its oversubscribed Series B round was extended from its original $22M to over $30M, attracting additional investments from eCommerce industry veterans Russ Jones, former CFO of Shopify, and Fabrice Grinda, former CEO of OLX. Scalefast also acquired Air360’s team and technology in October 2020 to help its clients understand customer behaviors with an unmatched level of granularity.
Over the years, Scalefast has worked with numerous high-profile brands, including Sega, Square Enix, Tile, Logitech, Salvatore Ferragamo, and L’Oréal.
Joining forces with ESW
The acquisition will further extend ESW’s market strength across apparel, beauty, personal care and luxury brands to include entertainment, gaming and electronics.
Scalefast’s industry leading data analytics and speed-to-market will also facilitate turnkey localized stores, digital ‘pop up’ stores and highly targeted DTC brand campaigns, which will all strongly complement ESW’s unrivaled cross-border DTC solutions and market-leading end-to-end customer experience.
The company also announced that the Scalefast founders will join the ESW senior leadership team. With a combined workforce of more than 1,000 team members, alignment between ESW and Scalefast positions the business for accelerated growth building upon the best aspects of both cultures. The combined company will continue to transform online shopping experiences for leading brands serving customers in over 200 markets.
Scaling a global category winner
Building a successful startup requires a comprehensive approach. Combining a strong vision, a relentless focus on product, and the courage to take risks, Scalefast delivered a global category winner. It is a commanding example of the strength of Southern Europe’s tech talent and the ambition of its entrepreneurs.
Their story also shatters the myth that European founders must take their entire operations to the US for faster development of the company and higher company value. By keeping its core engineering and operations teams in Spain and France, Scalefast remained tapped into the world-class tech talent available in Southern Europe, allowing them to scale strategically and putting them on the radar of the most prominent players in the eCommerce industry.
“Since 2018, Adara Ventures has been a great partner for us. Their knowledge of the tech startup scene in Southern Europe have been instrumental in our scaling journey here in Madrid,” said CTO & co-founder Frédéric Bocquet. “I want to thank them for their continuous support throughout the years.”
Congratulations, Scalefast team!
Learn more here: https://www.scalefast.com/esw-aquires-scalefast