This past year was more like a decade in ecommerce. For consumers, the pandemic necessitated new buying patterns overnight. For brands, the story was even more complicated. Merchants were forced to reimagine a fully virtual customer experience for the first time, and had to scale to meet that heightened demand. These merchants typical bootstrap their businesses and have long inventory cycles, so rapid growth is always intertwined with a mounting working capital crunch. Some merchants were able to borrow money at expensive rates or even sell parts of their business to keep up, others were forced to stock out and cap their growth.
This is a particularly salient problem as ecommerce is a core pillar of the current SMB-led economic rebound. It’s never been easier or more timely to set up an online business and start selling products instantly. Ecommerce represents a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs all around the world. However, those business formation tools do not scale with the entrepreneur — these merchants still lack access to the financial and software solutions that fuel their larger CPG competitors.
When we met Alek Koenig and Shane Moriah, they were no strangers to this challenge. Having pioneered a new model in alternative lending while working together at Affirm, they understand how to build best-in-class financing solutions that meet the customer where they are. They saw brands scale with Affirm and repeatedly face challenges like seasonal surges with few available solutions. Thus, they were inspired to create cashflow management for the modern ecommerce business—Settle. Since launching in June 2020, Settle’s spread has proved that a great solution doesn’t stay a secret for long, growing rapidly via word of mouth with 300+ customers and counting. Brands are effusive about their “lifesaving” Settle experience, even integrating the solution into their forecasting and analytics.
Settle has reimagined the CFO suite for brands, starting with integrated financing and bill pay solutions. We’re excited to lead Settle’s Series A and partner with the team on their mission to enable tomorrow’s household brand names get off the ground today. Did we mention, they’re hiring!?