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Wheelings & Dealings: e-Commerce Platform WebLinc Raises $6 Million from Safeguard Scientifics

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

August 20, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: e-Commerce Platform WebLinc Raises $6 Million from Safeguard Scientifics

By Joe Rizzo
TMCnet Contributing Writer

WebLinc is a commerce platform provider for online retailers. The company was co-founded by two brothers, Darren and Jason Hill in 1994. While you may not be familiar with WebLinc, the company’s e-commerce platform powers the online stores of such popular retailers as Nasty Gal, Urban Outfitter’s Free People and New York food emporium Eataly. The company is based in Philadelphia with a satellite office in New York.

It was announced on August 19, 2014 that WebLinc has completed a Series A round of funding with the net result being $6 million, coming from Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. The funding raised is earmarked to be used to accelerate the development of new features for WebLinc’s commerce platform, the onboarding of third party integration partners and to expand the company’s marketing and sales teams.

For about sixty years, Safeguard has been providing growth capital and operational support to entrepreneurs across, what can be considered, an evolving spectrum of industries. These days, it looks as though Safeguard is focused specifically on healthcare and technology. Since WebLinc has a very scalable platform that can provide full brand control, depth of features and the operational flexibility needed to run the most dynamic retail operations, it is easy to see why Safeguard is backing the company.

Darren Hill, WebLinc’s CEO, made the following comment, "This is an exciting time for our company and our industry. Our commerce platform was created specifically for the growing retailer who has become too big for off-the-shelf or one-size-fits-all solutions. At the same time, these retailers do not want their growth hindered by going with a 10-15 year-old enterprise platform, which is difficult or impossible to advance and change with the speed of business. Our successful clients have always been the fastest growing, fastest to innovate, and the fastest to have those innovations live before their competition. The WebLinc platform enables great companies to innovate circles around their competition and this funding will allow WebLinc to reach more great companies.”

Darren Hill also mentioned that it was the right time to raise funding, due to the fact that there was a market opportunity. WebLinc’s target market are mid-market e-commerce companies that have anywhere from $10 million to $150 million in revenue, it seems that right now WebLinc has an opportunity to capitalize on that market because many of its competitors have been acquired by giants in the business, such as Oracle (News - Alert) or SAP.

Although in the past WebLinc has been very successful without funding, due to the fact that they were not sure if they would be able to bootstrap the next phase of the company, they opted to go through the Series A funding round.  The feeling is that “There’s an enormous opportunity in front of us and the last thing we wanted to do was to look back with regret that we couldn’t put the resources together to fully take advantage of it.”

According to WebLinc, its clients have seen their revenue increase 54 percent year-over-year in the last quarter. In fact, mobile performance saw an increase of 94 percent. The company made an early bet on responsive designs, which is an area that its clients realized a 132 percent increase.

The company sees its greatest challenge coming from the larger companies like Oracle and SAP (News - Alert). It was with this in mind that they looked outside the company for funding. The comment was made that “Partnering with Safeguard will help us market more effectively and ensure that we can build the best implementation experience possible.”

WebLinc’s method is to tailor its commerce platform to the needs and scale of mid to large retailers. It accomplishes this by leveraging extensive experience and success supporting clients’ need for fast growth and system flexibility. The company has been able to build upon the latest technologies such as Ruby on Rails and MongoDB. It is because of this that WebLinc’s commerce platform has been able to successfully support some of the fastest growing online retailers. With $6 million in funding, it will be able to remain in the game.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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