Our Investment in Nautical Commerce: Infrastructure for Marketplace Operators
Over the last decade, our fund has been investing in all types of marketplaces, including ones in professional home services, restaurant maintenance, the food service industry, satellite data, interior design, Main Street retailers, last-mile delivery and wine.
Some of the largest companies in the last decade are consumer marketplaces, as evidenced by the $2.67T spent globally on the top 100 online marketplaces last year, which is expected to grow 14% yearly. Without an existing off-the-shelf solution, most companies built their custom infrastructure to service the market. Furthermore, there are few solutions in the market that satisfy the needs of both the supply and demand side at any degree of scale and the ones that end up being custom solutions with long integration times. Legacy commerce platforms are not optimized for the needs of the modern-day marketplace operator or the complexities of supporting multiple vendors. We believe the next logical step for vertically integrated SaaS companies is to adopt some form of marketplace mechanics to own the end-to-end experience.
Enter Nautical Commerce, the next-generation infrastructure platform for multi-vendor marketplaces. We participated in the Seed in 2021 alongside Accomplice, and we're proud to announce and share our investment as a part of their $30M Series A round led by our friends at Drive Capital, and frequent co-investors Accomplice.
We're excited to partner with seasoned executives and now co-founders Ryan Lee, Niklas Halusa and James Thorsby. The founders met while working at Turvo and observed the gaping hole in the b2b market. Shortly after we invested, Bhavin Shah (previously CTO TouchBistro, Top Hat) joined the team as one of the first Toronto hires.
Since investing at the seed, multiple portfolio companies have begun the transition to Nautical’s infrastructure as it greatly accelerates product development and satisfies the needs of their customers.
Nautical is natively multi-vendor, empowering each player in the marketplace — buyers, sellers, and operators. As a result, operators no longer have to assemble their platforms with a combination of plug-ins or spend millions on custom software unique to their business. Instead, Nautical's platform integrates with your existing logistics and supply chain infrastructure to get their customers up and running in a matter of days, not months.
The shift from offline to online purchasing happened well before the pandemic and has undoubtedly accelerated. Once both supply and demand are comfortable transacting online, there are many opportunities to deliver a superior experience for all parties. Some examples of these include:
- Extend catalogues for retailers to include products they don't carry
- Self-service buyer and seller management, customization, dispute resolution and exception handling
- Workflows to manage the "bits and atoms" of a transaction between multiple parties that don't have a relationship with each other
- Third-party product support to help facilitate a transaction (payments, factoring, shipping, etc.)
Marketplace operators can unlock new business growth and scale through Nautical Commerce's open and extensible platform. We believe the company will help lead the charge on business model innovation for both the incumbents and disrupters of the industry.
If you're interested in building the marketplace infrastructure platform of the future, Nautical is hiring across several departments in New York and Toronto.