Startups Venture

Helping Brands Sell Online: Shogun Raises $35M Series B

E-commerce experience platform Shogun closed on $35 million in Series B funding to help brands create unique buying experiences and optimize their online stores.

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Accel led the funding with participation from Initialized Capital, VMG Partners and Y Combinator, and a group of individual investors that included Bryant Chou, Mark Lenhard, Mark Lavelle, Alex O’Byrne, Brian Grady and Romain Lapeyre. This brings the company’s total fundraising to $47 million since the company’s inception in 2015, according to Crunchbase data. That includes a $10 million Series A round the company announced in February.

The company has two core products: Page Builder, a drag-and-drop page builder; and Frontend, a next-generation storefront tool that provides content management and fast page performance. The products sit on top of platforms, such as Shopify and Magento, said Shogun co-founder and CEO Finbarr Taylor in a conversation with Crunchbase News.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a big driver in moving consumers and merchants online, and that has fueled $94 billion in spending since March, according to the Digital Economy Index. Amid that activity, Shogun saw demand increase with thousands of new customers and platform use up over 50 percent month over month since February, Taylor said.

“Normally, we operate in the mid-market, where there are thousands of stores, but we also want to help those mom and pop shops and traditional businesses adapt and go online,” he said. “We have seen a huge swell of new users since COVID, and many of those are independent businesses. Since our technology makes it possible for nontechnical folks to make web pages, we have seen customers prioritizing e-commerce.”

Shogun platform

Shogun has been a product-led company over the past five years. As such, the company intends to use the new funds to scale its platform, further develop existing products, and build out its sales and marketing, executive and engineering teams. The company currently has 70 employees.

Ethan Choi, partner at Accel, said he has done a lot of work in the e-commerce space and was looking for a company like Shogun for a long time. He also said he was impressed with the way Taylor was able to take the company to 15,000 merchants without much sales and marketing.

Meanwhile, marketplaces are competitive. A brand is not able to own its own brand if they are on one, such as Amazon, competing with other products, he said.

“Site speed is the No. 1 problem that merchants have. A one-second delay impacts the conversion by a lot and affects revenue,” Choi added. “If you are going to go directly to consumers, you have to figure out how to create relationships, and Shogun allows you to do all of that.”

Photos of Shogun co-founders Nick Raushenbush and Finbarr Taylor, and platform courtesy of Shogun.
Blogroll illustration: iStock

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