A Winnipeg company that specializes in building tools for e-commerce is expanding its operations, after raising $35 million in investment funding.
Bold Commerce says it will use the capital raised to expand its three main products — checkout, subscriptions and pricing.
Bold also plans to hire 100 additional staff across North America to scale up operations.
“I would have never dreamt that we would have been here and had this much opportunity. And just the fact that there’s just so much opportunity ahead, [it’s] very exciting,” said Yvan Boisjoli, the company’s CEO.
The company’s latest funding round was led by OMERS Ventures, a fund specializing in growth-oriented technology companies, with existing Bold investors Whitecap Venture Partners and Round 13 Capital also contributing.
Bold was started in 2012 in Winnipeg by Jason Myers, Stefan Maynard, Eric Boisjoli and Yvan Boisjoli. It now has three offices — two in Winnipeg and one in Austin, Texas, along with 382 employees.
Boisjoli said with the new funding, the company is looking to hire the best talent across North America, particularly in its product, sales and marketing departments.
He said 56 new jobs have already been posted, with more coming this year. Recently, Bold has hired new developers in Calgary and Toronto, he said.
“As you surround yourself with great people, the amount of ideas and the great things that come out of your company, they just start to compound and that’s what we’re starting to see right now,” he said.
“It’s been a wild ride and I’m very excited for what the next couple of years are going to bring,” said Boisjoli.
Expansion good for Manitoba, says professor
Boisjoli said Bold Commerce has seen accelerated growth during the last two years, with sales increasing by 50 per cent each year. He said its clients have seen a 140 per cent increase in gross merchandise volume — sales made on their websites over a specified amount of time.
WATCH | Winnipeg e-commerce company plans to hire 100 more staff:
The company has worked with more than 90,000 brands in over 170 countries, including Shopify, Staples Canada, Vera Bradley, Harry Rosen and Pharrell Williams’s new skincare product line, Humanrace.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many entrepreneurs have had to innovate and keep up with the demand for e-commerce, Boisjoli said. He points to local businesses such as Chaeban Ice Cream, which shifted to a subscription model to stay afloat and thrive.
Fang Wan, a professor of marketing at University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business, said she’s proud to see a Manitoba company like Bold experience this type of growth.
“I think this is great for Canada. It’s great for Winnipeg, because there tend to be these power brands such as Amazon, etc., [but] they are more in the U.S. space,” she said.
Wan said by building on its expertise, which is the transactions sphere, Bold can outperform its original host, the e-commerce company Shopify, because it’s providing something that Shopify doesn’t have.
“You leverage on that and they grow further and to become No. 1, No. 2 in the industry, surpassing the giant, the old winner. It’s a matter of time, but also as a matter of deep focus as well,” she said.
Bold said it’s not in direct competition with its partner Shopify, because the two companies provide different services: Shopify is an e-commerce platform, while Bold provides add-on services to platforms.
Wan said the number of entrepreneurs, whether their business is big or small, is growing and they need companies, like Shopify and Bold, to empower them to sell their product.
“No doubt the pandemic is pushing businesses to have online presence, online operations, pushing them to do it faster, to do it better,” said Wan.
She said tech companies that support online distribution are now a key part of the supply chain.
“In the past, you’d have a lot of technical capabilities. But now these are outsourced by these companies who can empower you, so that’s really a very big trend these days,” said Wan.