Led by two former Lightspeed product leaders, Montréal-based retail tech startup QuoteMachine has raised $1 million CAD in seed financing as the software company looks to help digital merchants build more sustainable relationships with their customers.
The round was led by Telegraph Hill Capital (THCAP). Maple Leaf Angels’ fund MLA48 III, Real Ventures, and other individual angel investors also participated.
QuoteMachine wants to become the CRM platform of choice for big-ticket retailers.
Founded in 2018, QuoteMachine wants to become the customer relationship management platform (CRM) of choice for big-ticket retailers. The company’s solution integrates with Lightspeed and QuoteMachine is also in talks with Shopify about an integration.
QuoteMachine’s co-founder and CEO JD Rocheteau told BetaKit that now “it’s the right time” to scale. The startup plans to use the fresh funding to double the size of its team and build new partnerships and integrations with key retail software platforms.
“We are also investing in product development to stay ahead of retail trends like online and in-store shopping by appointment, online chat with sales associates, or social media selling,” said Rocheteau.
QuoteMachine’s co-founders are both Lightspeed alumni: Rocheteau served as a software engineer and product manager, while CTO Jonathan Muschalle worked as a software architect and development manager.
Based on a belief that digital commerce needs to shift its focus from anonymous transactions to deeper relationships, the company’s multi-tiered subscription-based solutions allow retailers to deliver personalized digital sales experiences and convert in-store conversations into online sales.
“As more buyers are concerned with value-aligned purchasing, there is an increased demand for information about the products’ history,” said Rocheteau. “Who are you buying from? How was it made? What does it contain? Consumers are no longer just buying products, they’re buying stories. We are enabling retailers to share these stories and their expertise in a very human way.”
Varun Dalal, principal at THCAP, said QuoteMachine addresses a market “that is currently underserved by ecommerce.” According to Dalal, “not only does [QuoteMachine] enable businesses selling customizable products to bring their interactions from the show-room floor online, but it also gives customers the opportunity to visit a store—see and experience the items they wish to buy— and continue the conversation with an expert from their smartphones or computers, translating to significant increases in sales for those businesses.”
Rocheteau said QuoteMachine has allowed retailers in verticals experiencing demand during COVID-19, such as home hardware, furniture stores, and outdoor sports specialists, to operate online “without compromising on providing the best customer service.”
Amid the pandemic, QuoteMachine began working with some of its clients to develop contactless workflows. For bike shops, it developed a system whereby customers would drop off their bikes in front of the store for repair, and “take care of the conversation online.”
QuoteMachine claims that software platforms it has partnered with have seen a 30 percent increase in their merchants’ gross merchandise revenue when using the QuoteMachine integration. Over the last six months, Rocheteau said the startup’s business has experienced 20 percent growth, month-over-month.
By growing its product team, QuoteMachine aims to expand its platform’s communications channels “so that sales associates can interact with customers via online chat, messaging apps and video, and also embrace new post-Covid trends like shop by appointment and in-store pickup.”
Last year, the startup participated in Real Ventures’ FounderFuel accelerator, which was hosted virtually due to COVID-19. Katy Yam, FounderFuel’s general manager called the company “a game changer for local retailers.”
“The reality is that independent retailers often provide critical decision-making expertise for high-ticket or complex products, only to lose that sale to an online retailer after the customer leaves their store,” said Yam, who added that QuoteMachine gives these retailers the tools they need “to convert their expertise into sales.”
Ultimately, QuoteMachine wants to help merchants go online “without losing their identity and the human touch that’s integral to their business.”
Approximately 70 percent of QuoteMachine’s users are based in the United States, while 20 percent are Canadian. Now, the startup has its sights set on expanding to Australia and Europe.
To achieve these goals, QuoteMachine is currently hiring in every function, with plans to add at least nine more people to its team over the next year.
Photo courtesy of QuoteMachine