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From the CEO: Sidecar Closes $11 Million Series C Investment Round

Sidecar Founder and CEO Andre Golsorkhi announces the company’s $11 million Series C investment round led by Harbert Growth Partners, Osage Venture Partners, and Ascent Venture Partners.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Building a great business is never truly complete. But some moments stand out as landmarks along the journey. Today is one of those moments.  

I am proud to announce that Sidecar has completed an $11 million Series C round of equity and debt financing. Led by new investor Harbert Growth Partners, along with our previous investors, Osage Venture Partners and Ascent Venture Partners, this round caps an exciting period in Sidecar’s evolution.

Over the last two years, we’ve matured from scrappy startup to established market leader, fueled in part by our Series B round of funding in November 2015. And although we’ve nearly tripled the business in a short time, our story is just beginning.

A Growing Market

Online retail is thriving — and that’s where our focus lies. The National Retail Federation forecasts e-commerce will grow by 8-12% year over year in 2017, up to three times faster than the sector overall. And it’s not just the massive, household-name retailers reaping the rewards of this e-commerce explosion.

Retailers of all shapes and sizes can flourish online — provided that they are smart about acquiring and retaining customers.

In its latest earnings report, Shopify reported revenues were up 75% year-over-year. Because Shopify caters primarily to smaller merchants, these strong results indicate that e-commerce is booming at the bottom and top of the market.  

Retailers of all shapes and sizes can flourish online — provided that they are smart about acquiring and retaining customers. That’s where Sidecar comes in.

A Changing Industry

When we started out, retailers had many varied methods to acquire customers online — from banner ads on the Huffington Post to text ads on Google to coupon promos on RetailMeNot.

While all those disparate pieces of the puzzle still exist, one avenue has emerged as the clear winner: product-level advertising, or breaking down a retailer’s business into its smallest unit — the product — and determining where each one of those units should be promoted, to whom, at what time, and at what cost.

Product-level advertising started as an experiment. Today, it is an entire industry, with unique challenges and opportunities that Sidecar empowers hundreds of retailers to overcome.

Product advertising now drives nearly 20% of all e-commerce revenues, dwarfing all other paid channels combined.

Google Shopping ads now comprise the majority of retailers’ Google marketing budgets. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to enhance Bing ShoppingBeyond these sites, platforms like Pinterest, which has long been primed to be a product ad powerhouse, has joined the party, rolling out search ads across its network.

Product advertising now drives nearly 20% of all e-commerce revenues, dwarfing all other paid channels combined.

The Future Is Granular

Notice a trend here?

The future of digital marketing is hyper-granular. The question that every business will be faced with is How do I break my offerings down to the atomic level of value and connect those units with the right consumers — with laser precision?

Machine learning and artificial intelligence must be the future of this industry. That’s what Sidecar does, and we are leading the charge — from retail onward.

E-commerce retailers have already gotten the message — and Sidecar is helping many to execute on it. You’ll see this trend continue with hotel rooms, service offerings, media content, and more. 

But connecting with consumers on such a granular level — at scale — requires quantitative wizardry beyond the reach of even the most sophisticated marketer. This means that machine learning and artificial intelligence must be the future of this industry.

That’s what Sidecar does, and we are leading the charge — from retail onward.

Locally Grown

Sidecar has exploded from 10 employees to nearly 150 in the last five years. We’ve also expanded overseas, signing new international customers and establishing a team in the U.K.

As Sidecar’s growth continues, I’m proud to say that it all started in Philadelphia. Though Philly’s tech scene is more robust than ever, there’s always chatter out there about the challenges to scaling a business anywhere outside of Silicon Valley or New York City.

If you have a big idea and a solid team, the resources you need to get started are right here in Philadelphia.

But we’re doing it. We’ve assembled the team, built the product, found great customers, and raised the capital needed to keep our vision alive. And we’re doing it here.

For that, a special thanks is due to our earliest investors, who placed a big bet on Sidecar when our technology and the market it served were in early days. Those investors — NextStage Capital, Robin Hood Ventures, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Gabriel Investments — are a testament that, if you have a big idea and a solid team, the resources you need to get started are right here in Philadelphia.

And as you scale that business, there are amazing investors, locally and across the country, who are willing to invest in opportunities in this city to keep your momentum going.

Data. Machine Learning. People.

So what’s next? One thing is certain: Going forward, the most important element of our success will continue to be our team. While the technology that we build and sell is our value to the market, our greatest responsibility to maintain that value is hiring the right talent.

We look for certain things in everyone we bring on board: the proper balance of intellectual and emotional maturity, a sense of humility (and humor), a willingness to accept uncertainty, and to treat failures as learnings rather than setbacks.

The shift in digital marketing is just beginning, and we plan on fighting alongside e-commerce merchants to overcome tomorrow’s challenges.

The ideal member of the Sidefam is someone whose fight or flight reaction is always to fight — fight to innovate and to leave something a little better than you found it. Even on the heels of this exciting moment for Sidecar, a preference for fight over flight is more important than ever.

The shift in digital marketing is just beginning, and we plan on fighting alongside e-commerce merchants to overcome tomorrow’s challenges. We’re beyond excited about what the future holds, so stay tuned for more news and product updates from Sidecar.

We’ve got some big things coming.

Andre Golsorkhi
Founder and CEO
Sidecar

ABOUT SIDECAR

Sidecar is an e-commerce marketing company that builds the advanced technology retailers need to optimize cross-channel online shopping campaigns. With a team of data science and e-commerce experts, our state-of-the-art machine learning engine, and a massive volume of data, Sidecar is the magic behind retail’s most efficient and powerful online shopping campaigns.


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