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Bolt Secures $50M in Series C Funding To Unveil Checkout Experience Platform

A big challenge retailers face is getting online shoppers to complete a transaction once they’ve initiated the checkout process. Unfortunately, nearly 70 percent of the time, they don’t.

Shopping cart abandonment reasons are plentiful—there are over a dozen—and it’s getting expensive for retailers to figure out how to capture every customer, Ryan Breslow, founder and CEO of Bolt told me in an interview.

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Thursday, San Francisco-based Bolt unveiled what Breslow says is the world’s first checkout experience platform, powered by a $50 million Series C round of funding led by WestCap’s Laurence Tosi. Bolt, founded in 2014, gives retailers and consumers more choice, control and flexibility over their transactions by managing the back end of the checkout—presenting payment options, securely processing payments, and mitigating fraud—while providing a seamless front end experience.

“We are creating a new category of checkout experience and have run more than 100 tests on ways to present the cart to find out what users want,” Breslow said.

Example of Bolt’s customer experience platform.

Tosi, who led the scaling of Airbnb’s payments platform, joins existing investors Activant Capital, Tribe Capital, Glynn Capital and Human Capital, alongside new investments from a collection of current and former executives and board members from Magento, Venmo, PayPal, Lyft, Tommy Hilfiger, Tesla and Lululemon. The Series C brings the company’s total funding to nearly $140 million, which includes a $68 million Series B we reported on last year.

The timing was good to bring on Tosi as an investor because of his track record at Airbnb, and especially now with the global pandemic making all companies technology companies, Breslow said. As a result, retailers needed to become faster than ever to address checkout, which is the most complex part, he added.

In a written statement, Tosi said that the stakes are high for retailers to provide a good shopping experience.

“Retailers who don’t adapt fast enough will die out, leaving all the power to a select few,” he said. “Bolt’s superior technology helps retailers provide customers with an experience that’s designed for how people shop today, and I’m confident that this injection of new capital will accelerate the company towards its goal of empowering the majority of independent retailers by 2025.”

The new cash infusion will help Bolt continue research and development on its product, and add more integrations and conversions, as well as a fraud engine, Breslow said.

The company has 150 employees, and in addition to San Francisco, has offices in Salt Lake City, Toronto and New York. Breslow has plans to expand to 200 employees by the end of the year, hiring on the engineering and technology sides, as well as investing in sales and partnerships, which he said is a big part of the platform.

“Since we started in 2014, we have learned that e-commerce is complex and fragmented, so we have had to rethink how to design Bolt to be an open platform so that we can keep power in the hands of retailers who want to maintain their brands,” Breslow said. “I think our biggest challenge will be educating the market because we are a new category that hasn’t existed before, and is not something that people know they can use.”

Photo of Ryan Breslow and application courtesy of Bolt
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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