Bold Commerce: Behind The Deal With Whitecap Venture Partners and Round13 Capital

January 21, 2019 | By: Jon Jackson
Photo: Bold Commerce Founders – (Left to right) Jason Myers, Yvan Boisjoli, Stefan Maynard, Eric Boisjoli.

On January 16, Winnipeg-based Bold Commerce announced the successful close of a CAD $22M Round A financing from Whitecap Venture Partners and Round13 Capital.

Bold Commerce provides a range of e-commerce applications to 86,000+ wholesale and business-to-business merchants worldwide. Some of the merchants using Bold Commerce’s solutions include Obama Foundation, Zippo, NPR, the Bon Jovi Official Store, and DJ Khaled’s Goldition.

Following the raise, the CVCA caught up with Carey Diamond, Managing Partner and Shayn Diamond, Partner at Whitecap Venture Partners and Bruce Croxon, Managing Partner and Craig Strong, Partner at Round13 Capital to find out about the deal and the unique opportunity in Bold Commerce.

Why did your firm choose to invest in this company and the management team?

Whitecap Venture Partners: As a firm, we are drawn to companies building (and selling) technology solutions in white spaces. Bold Commerce has shown just that as they have built a suite of applications that are currently available for download on both Shopify and Big Commerce. The growth of the company as well as the utilization of its applications has been tremendous. Technology aside, Whitecap also looks at the team as an integral part of the investment process. We believe that Yvan Boisjoli (CEO) and his team at Bold are incredibly talented and well aligned with our view of the potential for the company.

Round13 Capital: Bold Commerce has distinguished itself as a product of choice in the Shopify ecosystem. We are bullish that they can replicate this across many other points of distribution. And Bold doesn’t only sell apps; it is becoming a leader in working with merchants to help them build their businesses. As for the team, we think it’s remarkable that they’ve bootstrapped their way to this point while—or because of—the amazing culture they’ve created.

What will the invested dollars be used for?

WC: The funds will be used to grow the team; Bold Commerce plans to add roughly 200 people in the next 12-18 months. They also plan to allocate some of the invested dollars into building their AI tool, Bold Brain, which will enable e-commerce stores to anticipate the needs of their customers in real time.

Where did you hear about the company/opportunity?

WC: We met the company through their newly appointed independent board members who have been a “friend of the fund” for many years.

R13: Whitecap introduced us to Bold Commerce.

What is your anticipation about this sector in the short term and long term?

WC: We believe that e-commerce will continue its rapid growth in both the near and short term. It is incumbent on the team at Bold Commerce to continue to look forward as they fine tune their existing apps and develop new apps that will satisfy the needs of their customers.

R13: Bold Commerce is tapping into the future of e-commerce, i.e., headless commerce. The starting point of the shopping experience will continue to spread across numerous “store fronts” including voice, social, and mobile. Having created the apps that enable all forms of transactional flow, Bold is set up to benefit from this massive market transformation.

Is there anything particularly interesting about this deal that you’d like to emphasize?

WC: It is rare to find a company bootstrapped to a level of such success and have so much future potential. We believe that Bold Commerce has barely scraped the surface of the potential they have within e-commerce.

R13: Bold Commerce is based in Winnipeg. We think it’s a distinct advantage to be able to build some attention in the community and attract the next generation of talent.

What is your exit horizon on this deal?

WC: As with all of our deals, we estimate 5 years but appreciate that can change with varying market dynamics.

R13: We haven’t considered a specific exit window, but like always, if we build it (well), they will come.

Tell us about the lead at your firm involved in this deal.

WC: Carey and Shayn led the deal for the Whitecap team. With more than 30 years of VC experience (and having worked with two companies in Winnipeg), Carey is well versed in building teams in Winnipeg.

R13: Bruce and Craig both have deep experience in building out marketing and sales, which is Bold Commerce’s next foray. Plus, both love Winnipeg (but not the Jets).

Diversity in the Portfolio Company and Community Impact

What is the number and percentage of women on the executive team in this company?

Bold Commerce has one woman on the executive team (of 5).

Number of jobs to be created with most recent investment round?

>200

Number of jobs created since company inception?

275

What are some of the ways the portfolio company is making an impact in the community (environmental, social, governance)?

WC: Bold Commerce is incredibly active in the Winnipeg community, and giving back is a core part of the company’s everyday culture. For example, they took the pledge a few years ago. With that, they encourage everyone on their team to spend 1% of their time (~20 hours per person per year) giving back to the community in the form of volunteering with local charities during paid hours, which happens throughout the year.

Bold also works with Extra Life, an organization that started in 2008 which unites thousands of gamers around the world to play games in support of their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. People get together to play video games for 24 hours straight, while raising money and awareness for local children’s hospitals. Over the past two years, Bold has hosted the event in Manitoba and opened it to anyone that wanted to participate. In both years, they were able to attract over 100 people, with the goal of raising $20,000. For 2019, they want to make this initiative a much larger event, and target 1,000 to 1,500 participants, and raise more than $500,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.


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