Fresh round of $355M lifts online checkout company Bolt into decacorn territory – TechCrunch

Checkout Bolt technology company continues to do a quick job of attracting new capital. The company on Friday announced $355 million in Series E funding to give Bolt an $11 billion valuation, according to sources close to the company.

Bolt’s one-click payment product aims to give businesses the same technology that Amazon has been famous for since 1997, while at the same time incorporating payment and fraud services aimed at ensuring that transactions are real and payments can be accepted. Additionally, shoppers can create an account once and then use those credentials across a network of hundreds of Bolt Networks brands.

This new increase comes just three months after Bolt secured $393 million in Series D funding. Including Series E, Bolt’s total funding to date is nearly $1 billion. Ryan Breslow, founder and CEO of TechCrunch, said the company’s valuation is double that of Series D.

Discussing Bolt’s rise to the billion dollar mark, Breslow explained that the company operates in a space with competitors that are actually worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Depending on the source, these are companies like Stripe, Shopify, and Checkout.com.

“It may look like a lot of money is being raised, but in reality no, that’s the capital for us to be competitive,” he added. “We not only want to be on par with competitors, but to be better. The capital will enable us to bring in the best talent, make strategic acquisitions and expand in Europe, which is important for us.”

Internationally, the company got a head start there in November after securing agreements with both Benefit Cosmetics and PrestaShop, and when Bolt first acquired Tipser, a Sweden-based tech company that enables direct payments on any digital surface.

“We saw how important the Tipster program was to Bolt,” Breslow said at the time. “They’ve been mastering their combined trading technology for a decade and have been the only formidable player. They were stronger than us in the areas where we were weaker. It’s very strategic to have you on our team.”

Two months later, he said that the integration of Bolt’s original checkout and shopper experience with Tipser’s built-in commerce technology was ongoing, and that, together, they already subscribe to some big clients.

Meanwhile, BlackRock-managed funds and accounts led investment in Series E, with new investors Schonfeld, Invus Opportunities, CreditEase and HIG Growth joining existing investors Activant Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures.

Ben Tsai, partner at Invus Opportunities, said via email that the e-commerce landscape offers a “tremendous opportunity to improve the online checkout experience, and retailers realize they are losing customers as a result.”

“Bolt has a growing network of millions of shoppers who benefit from the ease of one-click payments through Bolt’s expanding network of retailers,” he added. “We are thrilled to support Ryan and the ambitious Bolt team and see a huge opportunity in the space that Bolt is disrupting.”

Over the past year, Bolt has grown the total value of merchandise per merchant by 80% and has seen accounts increase by 180% during 2020, while transactions have grown by 200% year-over-year. The company also says that 100 million shoppers are about to join the Bolt network over the next 18 months.

Finally, after launching Conscious Culture, a guide meant to help companies create people-first work cultures, last May, it now has nearly 80 companies and hundreds of clients in the group.

Bolt currently has more than 550 employees working remotely across more than 200 cities. In addition to talent, acquisitions, and international expansion, the new funding will also accelerate Bolt’s goals of launching a series of new products this year.

Within the pipeline are major investments in areas, such as social commerce, where the built-in native commerce will be able to go to any channel: websites, chatbots, on-site, video streaming, games, you name it. Breslow expects the move will put Bolt’s repayment capabilities all over the place. Funding will also be funneled into expanding consumer products to help shoppers shop more efficiently across the Bolt network.

Going forward, Breslow sees Bolt separating the “Amazon gold standard” buying experience as it launches new products so that not only does a business get one-click checkout, but seamless order tracking, fast returns, fast shipping, and membership benefits—all technologies that have given Amazon an early edge .

When asked if going public soon, Breslow said it was neither in the immediate horizon nor the end goal.

“We have one goal, and that is to build the biggest company ever,” he added.

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