A start-up that has actually framed itself as an Instagram for websites is now squaring up versus Shopify as it catches new funding from Google’s equity capital arm.
Brooklyn-based Universe has just closed a $10 million Series A from GV. The financing round was well in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold stateside; nonetheless, CEO Joseph Cohen certainly sounded relieved to have actually whatever signed.
“Hopefully, it’ll take some weight off their shoulders that may have existed otherwise,” said GV basic partner M.G. Siegler, who led the deal and is sitting on their board. When the group released out of YC two years earlier, the preliminary objective was to be the go-to short link for young people and creatives to stick in their Instagram bios. The mobile app allowed users to develop really standard landing pages, enabling them to type up some text, toss up photos and organize their development across a couple of websites.
As the start-up grows and looks to home in on a more robust business design, they’re now seeking to build an extremely low-friction commerce platform. Users can include a shopping “block” to their site, include a price, image and description and then start accepting orders.
“We’ve gone from a landing page contractor to a full-fledged site builder,” Cohen informed TechCrunch in an interview. Universe is going after what Cohen calls “very small businesses.” This could be an artist selling prints, a yoga instructor charging for Zoom classes or among their latest clients, a farmer selling live bait. “These are individuals who don’t work at desks,” Cohen states.
Shopify has been one of the most significant tech success stories of the past several years, but Cohen sees weaknesses for Universe to profit from. Shopify is”complicated and not mobile-first,” he says. Universe not only does not need a designer to execute, it does not seem to require someone that’s particularly tech-savvy.
The rate of simplicity for completion user is a large cut for Universe. At launch, the company isn’t taking a portion for the very first $1,000 of a client’s earnings, but will take a 10% piece thereafter, a number that’s significantly multiples higher than the rates of rivals.
Cohen acknowledges that if a business is successful, this can be a substantial cost for them, one that might press them to another platform. He say that he wishes to figure out a design that can assist his start-up “grow and scale” with their consumers, but he didn’t offer up any details on what that might look like.
The team is still dealing with complimentary and paid “pro” tiers that offer advanced functions like analytics. Commerce features will be offered for both tiers.
Universe has raised $17 million to date. Other financiers include Javelin Venture Partners, General Catalyst and Greylock Partners. We chatted with GV’s M.G. Siegler about closing this deal and how his function as a financier has shifted because the present crisis took hold. You can check out that interview on Bonus Crunch.
Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.