As Myplanet founder and CEO Jason Cottrell puts it, the previous wave of commerce software vendors “really wanted you to use all of their stuff.”
For the first 10 years of its existence, Toronto-based software studio and consulting firm Myplanet’s work focused on helping clients transition from this type of tech to the expanding world of API-driven commerce.
But as the latter category—which features emerging players like Germany’s Commercetools and Vancouver-based Elastic Path—grew, Cottrell and the Myplanet team noticed an opportunity to dive more deeply into what is often referred to as ‘composable commerce.’
“What we’re doing now is a lot of foundation for what the world of experience in commerce is going to look like in five and 10 years.”
“We had this ‘aha’ moment back in 2019, where we realized that this category, composable commerce, was right at that tipping point of going to the mainstream,” Cottrell told BetaKit in an interview. “The ecosystem was [becoming] more established, the core vendors were now raising their Series B [and] their Series C [rounds], and so, we kind of sat back and made what at the time was a risk risky bet, but now seems great in hindsight.”
For the past few years, Myplanet has helped large brands mix, match, and connect various commerce building blocks to suit their individual needs and improve their digital experiences. Since shifting gears, Myplanet has partnered with Commercetools, Elastic Path, and Google, and amassed a list of clients that includes New Balance, Harry Rosen, Sun Life, and Telus.
Given Myplanet’s expertise and early traction, Cottrell believes that the startup can have “an outsized impact on the world of e-commerce.” To build on its recent growth and tackle this opportunity, Myplanet has closed $14 million CAD ($11 million USD) in growth equity funding from Chicago’s Tercera.
“Myplanet is the largest composable commerce specialist in North America,” Tercera partner Bill Petty told BetaKit in an interview. “And going back to Tercera’s thesis, we like betting on the leading services partner within an emerging ecosystem.”
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The round marks Tercera’s first Canadian investment, and Myplanet’s first venture funding, as the startup has been bootstrapped and debt-funded to date. Given that Tercera’s entire portfolio focus is on growth professional services, Cottrell described the firm as the “right fit” for Myplanet from a category and model perspective.
Cottrell said the funding consisted “mostly” of primary capital, noting that it also included a “minor secondary component which benefited early [Myplanet] employee shareholders,” but declined to disclose the exact breakdown.
Shortly after Myplanet shifted its focus to composable commerce, COVID-19 hit. “I thought I had three years to make a nice orderly transition,” said Cottrell. “Our travel customers got wiped out, our retail customers got wiped out—basically the transition happened in about three months.”
But by the same token, the pandemic forced companies to digitize, which benefitted Myplanet’s new focus. “All of a sudden … it was like a rocket ship going off in the new part of the business as brands pushed to digital.”
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After diving into the commerce market landscape, Petty said Tercera soon realized that legacy players were failing to meet the needs of modern brands from a tech stack perspective.
“What we kept seeing and hearing over and over again was that the monolithic technology stacks, were just coming up short in addressing the complex client journeys and complex buying experiences that today’s retailers want to deliver,” said Petty, who is joining Myplanet’s board as part of the deal.
According to Cottrell, one of the things that separates Myplanet from other players in this space is its composable.com framework: what is essentially a library of integrations between standard tools clients can access that Myplanet has built for other brands.
Jason Cottrell believes that Myplanet can play “a key role” in the composable commerce ecosystem.
While the company does not typically retain the higher-level, more innovative work it does, it holds on to the “table-stakes” integrations and shares them with other customers—which allows clients to adopt them faster while assuming less risk given that they’ve already been tested.
With the help of Tercera, Cottrell envisions building Myplanet and its 200-person team into a mid-sized consultancy in the 500-employee range.
Ultimately, the CEO believes that Myplanet can play “a key role” in the composable commerce ecosystem.
While Myplanet still helps brands transition large, complex e-commerce from old to new technologies, what excited Cottrell most is the innovation that he believes is going to take place on top of these composable commerce architectures related to new commercial and customer experience models.
“What we’re doing now is a lot of foundation for what the world of experience in commerce is going to look like in five and 10 years,” said Cottrell.
Feature image courtesy Myplanet.