Montréal-based Livescale Technologies, with a platform allowing consumer brands to host live shopping events, has raised $2.5 million CAD as the startup looks to become the video backbone of e-commerce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the experiential commerce market, as brands sought innovative ways to market their products in a remote world.
The round was led by Luge Capital and Granicus Group, with participation from Inovia Capital, French Founders, and strategic angel investors, as well as returning investors Panache Ventures and Real Ventures.
This latest round of funding brings the startup’s total funding to date to $3.5 million CAD. The startup classified this round as a “post-seed” round, with Livescale co-founder and CEO Virgile Ollivier telling BetaKit the startup sought to raise capital to extend its runway before raising a larger Series A round in the summer of this year.
The proceeds of the round will be used by Livescale to accelerate hiring, grow in the United States and Europe, and launch new initiatives on its platform.
Livescale launched in 2016, initially offering a live video platform allowing its customers to broadcast events on multiple social networks and websites simultaneously. The startup currently operates in the experiential commerce market. This form of retail provides customers with non-traditional shopping experiences, such as events that use virtual reality or video streaming.
Livescale now offers a live shopping platform for brands and merchants. The platform allows these companies to host live e-commerce shopping events for new and existing customers on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Shoppers can ask questions, comment, chat with friends, and make purchases through the platform.
The startup’s live shopping software integrates directly with payment processors to allow shoppers to check out and pay for products without leaving a live stream. Livescale claims it has helped more than 300 companies.
Ollivier told BetaKit the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the experiential commerce market, as brands sought new ways to market their products in a remote world.
“Where we thought the live shopping market would grow to maturity in the next five years, COVID came ready to accelerate that growth,” Ollivier told BetaKit.
“With COVID, the main purpose of brands [was] to find new ways to provide experiential commerce to their customers, because they need to create more awareness, more engagement, and of course, more sales,” he added.
Ollivier claimed between March 2020 and January 2021, Livescale was able to grow its revenue ten-fold.
Livescale is one of many e-commerce-focused startups that have seen marked growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Large Canadian companies operating in this sector, such as Shopify and Lightspeed, have reported strong quarterly growth since the onset of the pandemic. Similarly, several Canadian retail tech startups have also gained traction over the last year. Heyday AI, another Montréal retail startup that recently raised financing, claims it grew its client base by more than 60 percent last year, and doubled its annual recurring revenue over the third and fourth quarters of 2020.
Ollivier said after the pandemic ends, he hopes for Livescale to be the video backbone for e-commerce, and eventually provide more video commerce experiences for brands and merchants.
“Post-COVID, things won’t be the same as before, especially in retail,” said Ollivier. “We’ll continue to see an acceleration of e-commerce, but also an acceleration in experiential commerce because I think that’s what people are looking at, especially to connect with brands, and also have more fun, because COVID was tough for everyone.”
Livescale’s platform is available globally, but Ollivier explained the startup is focusing on expanding in the US and Europe because live shopping is considerably newer in other markets, such as Asia. Notably, in China alone, live stream shopping was a $170 billion market in 2020. Livescale claims it powered the very first live shopping event for Spain, Italy, France, Canada, and the US.
The startup’s team currently sits at 21 people, and the CEO hopes to bring the company’s headcount to 45 by the end of 2021.
Image source Unsplash. Photo by rupixen.com.