On Thursday, the Brazilian startup Olist announced that it received BRL 310 million in a Series D round led by SoftBank Group. The round was co-led by Valor Capital Group (which was already an investor in Olist), Península, VELT Partners, FJ Labs, and individual investor Kevin Efrusy. This is the largest round that Olist has received to date. Last year, SoftBank had already invested BRL 190 million in the company.
To LABS, Saulo Marti, CMO at Olist, said that the infusion will be applied to the startup’s core business, which is to offer complete e-commerce solutions, combined with strategic acquisitions – like Clickspace, a marketplace solution startup created in 2017 that Olist just acquired (the value of the transaction has not been disclosed). “Clickspace had a lot of synergy with our next products, and their team joined ours,” he said.
The next acquisitions should be based on market intelligence, logistics, and financial services; all focused on the startup’s long-term strategy. “Certainly improving logistics services is a great pillar of success for Olist. It will be part of our investment, whether through M&A or products.”
Founded in 2015, Olist helps brick-and-mortar stores enter the world of online sales through a platform. The service’s demand soared months ago when physical stores began to close due to isolation measures to contain the coronavirus.
Last year, Olist’s CEO Tiago Dalvi told LABS that the startup expected to end 2021 with 100,000 customers. Now, the company has 90,000, and more than 30% of them are cross-border stores. “The pandemic brought a scale that we were not used to and, at the same time, a new work methodology. And the market accelerated. It was five years of e-commerce development in five months. It was a tsunami that we managed to surf,” said Marti.
The new SoftBank round did not change the leadership of Olist’s board, according to Marti. “We have some new partners, who are SoftBank’s advisors. The team is more robust, but the structure has not changed,” he said. According to Marti, a Series D round was not expected to happen in less than a year, but the growth boosted by the pandemic led the company to “keep stepping on the accelerator.”
“Our rounds are based on our growth and our planning. When we do one round, we don’t have the (immediate) intention of doing another. Everything can change according to market scenarios, such as the pandemic itself. [The investment rounds are] more in line with ensuring that our strategies have the resources they need, and we are very confident that they now have it”.
Among Olist’s plans is the launch of new products and services, such as the Olist Shops, an app launched this year that allows businesses to create online storefronts in less than three minutes. “Our main focus is our core business (taking thousands of physical stores to the online world), but we believe that there are new products and services to add to it and make it more and more robust.”