A pivotal client that served as an MVP for a local startups new focus is now helping to fuel its new growth.
Dallas-based Immerss, a company providing digital tools for brands to leverage e-commerce sales, has raised a $1.1 million seed funding round from Oak Stream Investors III, a fund of Oak Stream Investors, and Muse Family Enterprises – two local family office investors led by board members of Texas bootmaker Lucchese.
“It's very nice validation for us to see our customers believe in what they see in the product result in investing in a company,” CEO Arthur Veytsman said. “We're a local company, we have a local boutique client, and our investors are all in the same city. That's rare, but that's really what the Dallas is striving to get to.”
Immerss helps brands create live online shopping experiences through video, streaming and messaging tools, allowing them to track outcomes with real-time analytics. When the company initially launched in 2015, Veytsman said the company was aiming to create a video commerce platform. An early investor in the company, he joined as CEO about three years ago amid a pivot to productization. Lucchese came on as a client in late 2019, and since going live with Immerss in 2020, Veytsman said the company has seen its sales move from 70% retail wholesale to 70% direct-to-consumer sales.
“Historically, there was a clear division between the manufacturer and the retailer. With e-commerce, this started blurring. Then, the direct-to-consumer movement really made a big change in that,” Veytsman said. “That's really where we help, with both brands who are natively online or net natively direct-to-consumer, and those that are transitioning to that business model.”
Immerss also counts retailers like Radley London and Ylang 23 as clients. Overall, clients have seen 29% sales conversion rates and 61% increases in average order volume.
“We really view this live commerce as the first big kind of game-changer of e-commerce in the last 20 years, since it existed. It's a whole new way of shopping,” said Patrick Jacobs, Immerss co-founder. “That missing human element that has never been involved there is now inserted into that process. People can really have this virtual in-store experience and have this co-shopping concierge-level of service that didn't exist online.”
The new funding brings Immerss' total to $3.5 million. Veytsman added that there's still $400,000 open on the current round. With the new funding, it is looking to boost scale by boosting its sales and marketing team. The company currently has a sales director position listed online, and Veytsman said it would likely add three to five people to its sales and customer success teams. Currently, Immerss has an 11-person team. Veytsman declined to disclose revenue figures.
Jacobs said the pandemic, forcing brands to move online and customers to become more comfortable with video calls, is shaping the retail industry and Immerss. The company is currently working on an interface with the Shopify app store. Jacobs added that as Immerss continues to onboard new clients, it will provide more detailed consumer and sales insights as it aims to attract large enterprise clients.
If the company can hit certain milestones with client enrollment and success, it will likely look to raise a Series A round between $5 million and $10 million in the next 15 months.
“We're building the platform to be a big data company in the future,” Veytsman said. “The data we're gathering up on the consumer journey, as they click through experiences, whether it's a chat or video, how long the call is if they watch the video, how long to they watch it before they make a purchase. All of that's really going to contribute to a lot of smart data that we're going to feedback to brands.”