Former Well.Ca Founder Ali Asaria Raises $2.4 Million for New Waterloo Startup

Ali Asaria left in the winter to relative surprise, but really you kind of knew he was just going to start some other awesome site. Asaria founded the Guelph-based in 2008, and today it stands as Canada’s largest online health, baby and beauty store.

It was April when Asaria packed up and moved down the 401 to Kitchener to start Tulip Retail.

Today the company is announcing that it has raised a cool $2.4 million from SoftTech, Founder Collective, BoxGroup, Lerer Ventures, iNovia, Promus Ventures, KIMA Ventures, Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress), the founders of Bufferbox, and Greg Kidd (early investor in Twitter and advisor to Square).

The startup’s omni-channel retail platform for midsize and enterprise retailers allows them to sell both online and offline. It combines in-store tablets, enterprise ecommerce, and a consumer mobile app to enable retailers to give seamless omnichannel experiences for shoppers that want to be able to have one store experience across all digital and in-store channels. Kind reminds one of Shopify and PayPal Canada‘s recent endeavours, doesn’t it? Not to mention what Jack Dorsey is trying to accomplish with Square.

“There has been a lot of innovation in retail that is focused on small retailers — now the next generation of large retailers need a platform that combines the best of online, mobile, and in-store. We’re building that platform,” said Asaria.

Lerer Ventures’ Ben Lerer added that there is currently no viable solution for e- and retail companies that need modern, affordable, enterprise-level software. “As the CEO of a commerce business, I understand exactly the pain point Tulip Retail is addressing and as an investor, I’m incredibly bullish on Ali and the opportunity he’s going after,” he said.

The company is really trying to play up its “Tulip Commerce Engine’, which allows retailers to enable “true omni-channel experiences” for their shoppers. By pulling product, customer, and transactional information into a single, cloud-based hub, the Tulip Commerce engine allows large retailers to enable seamless consumer experiences across their stores, website, and mobile storefronts.

Moreover, businesses looking for an end-to-end solution to enable interactions with their customers can “leverage the Tulip Platform to enable Apple-store like checkout experiences that connect to their ecommerce and internal data stores.” Common pain ponts that Lerer mentioned are like ordering online but fulfilling orders from the store, or ordering in the store in an but shipping to the customer’s home. Now it becomes easy using the Tulip Retail Platform.

Tulip Retail Platform Overview from Tulip Retail on Vimeo.

Like many solutions coming out this year, Tulip’s is likely no where near what it would cost to implement a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. “We believe that enterprise class software doesn’t have to cost millions of dollars or take years to install, particularly given the increasingly dynamic world of retail commerce,” said Micah Rosenbloom of Founder’s Collective. “This ‘lightweight’ approach to omni-channel selling will enable retailers access to tools they previously couldn’t afford.”

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