Today, Nautical announced our $30M Series A to scale our multi-vendor marketplace technology.
I am extremely proud of what the team has accomplished to date. We went heads down building the product at the beginning of 2020 and quietly went out to market in December 2021. The excitement we've seen from marketplace operators and companies looking to add third party sellers using our multi-vendor platform offering has been incredibly validating for our team as we continue on our mission to democratize access to marketplace technology.
Before founding Nautical, I helped Apple launch Apple Pay internationally in 16 countries, led product at fintech startup ModoPayments, and built a logistics platform at Turvo.
In these roles, I had conversation after conversation with large enterprises and B2B businesses that wanted to augment their offering with a marketplace, but were spending years and millions of dollars to do it.
Each of these enterprises was building a custom multi-vendor solution complete with custom built payments, logistics, and commerce integrations. Every new connection increased the complexity of their marketplace stack and required constant management and maintenance. There was no off-the-shelf marketplace platform that enabled enterprises to quickly launch a marketplace without necessitating a replatform.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, startups were coding custom marketplaces from scratch and spending large amounts of investor funding building tech that wasn’t necessary to validate their business model.
After years of seeing businesses struggle to build marketplaces, I connected with former Turvo colleagues and Nautical co-founders, Niklas Halusa and James Throsby, and we got to work building a simple, turnkey marketplace platform.
During our time working on enterprise marketplace builds at fintech and logistics companies, we got a unique perspective on the impact fintech and logistics has on marketplace operations. We learned that not only are fintech and logistics a necessary piece of operating a marketplace, they are foundational.
When you operate a marketplace, your supply chain changes. No longer are you holding inventory and fulfilling products yourself. Instead, you’re relying on your third party sellers to receive the order and deliver it to the customer in the agreed upon time frame. This new model is going to impact warehousing, delivery, contracting, and notification operations.
The fintech requirements of a marketplace are another major hurdle faced by companies looking to leverage the model. Instead of simply receiving money from buyers online, you are now paying out multiple stakeholders who are selling on your site. In this new role, you are required to send out 1099-Ks, submit taxes across varying countries, states, and cities, and have a different process to handle revenue recognition.
The marketplace offerings in the market today have focused on the commerce aspects of operating a marketplace without looking at the problem holistically.
What good is it to allow vendors to sell on your site if you have no way to coordinate logistics and keep your buyers apprised of their purchase? How do you expect to keep vendors happy on your marketplace if you have no easy way to calculate their commission or pay them out?
A vendor app will only get you so far. You need a platform that orchestrates across all three marketplace components: commerce, fintech, and logistics.
By building specifically to the unique needs of multi-stakeholder businesses, Nautical has each of these functions woven into the fabric of the platform.
As a turnkey marketplace platform, Nautical enables businesses to launch a marketplace within days, not years, quickly validating the marketplace business model and saving millions in custom development costs.
With this $30M Series A, we have the funds to expand our team and fuel product growth. We plan to add over 40 employees to the Nautical team in the next 18 months in order to further our goal of making marketplace tech accessible.
Thank you to our team, our investors, our customers, our partners, and our friends and families who have supported us along the way. We are excited to add Masha Khusid (Drive Capital) to Nautical’s board of directors, and appreciate the guidance given to us by our investors Ameet Shah (Golden Ventures) and TJ Mahony (Accomplice Ventures).
If you are interested in joining us on our journey to rid marketplaces of custom development, please feel free to reach out to me or send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.