Starting an e-commerce firm on one of the leading marketplaces, such as Shopify, might be a simple procedure, but the Swell team realized that the concept could only carry a company so far.
Swell specializes in “headless” commerce, which means it separates the front end of a website, aka the storefront, from the back end, which has all of the data, to improve the shopping experience and allow the back end to be updated and maintained without affecting the front end.
“The key is getting started quickly, which Shopify is awesome at, but you realize you are stuck when you try to do more than the basic model. We needed to build something that was as easy as Shopify, but enabled you to grow. Most people can’t afford to build their own back end, so we also wanted to provide something people could do without spending millions of dollars,” said Eric Ingram, CEO of Swell.
Swell was born out of Ingram’s experience working at e-commerce company Digital River and subsequently starting a handful of his enterprises, including a clothes company, over a decade ago. In 2021, he and his team raised $3.4 million in a seed round to get things started.
Nearly a year later, the firm is back with a $20 million Series A round-headed by VMG Catalyst and Headline, with Bonfire Ventures, Willow Growth, Commerce Ventures, and Red Antler also investing. Attentive CEO Brian Long, Gorgias CEO Romain Lapeyre, Remote First Capital and former Product Hunt CTO Andreas Klinger, Fast.co CEO Domm Holland, and Warby Parker’s Brian Magida are among the individual investors.