Here’s the 17-page deck that EQL, a hype commerce platform launched by 3 ex-Googlers, used to raise $18.6 million to help retailers sell limited-edition products
This story is available exclusively to Business Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now.
- EQL wants to take the pain out of limited edition online sales of sneakers and other hyped products.
- It’s raised $18.6 million from Insight Partners and AirTree Ventures.
- Check out the 17-slide deck it used to raise the fresh funds.
A startup that’s designed a “hype commerce” platform to help retailers launch limited-run products without being overrun by site crashes and bots has raised $18.6 million in fresh funds from Insight Partners and AirTree Ventures.
Australia-based EQL’s platform includes a smart payments tool which enables companies to process high volumes of payments so their inventories stay in sync. It can also detect bots and scammers who buy up limited edition stock at the expense of punters.
During the pandemic, e-commerce sales boomed by over 50.5% to $870 billion in the US alone. Social distancing requirements meant that consumers couldn’t stand in lines outside stores for buzzy launches of products such as sneakers and wristwatches, putting an increased burden on online retailers.
Companies that were anticipating in-person launches switched to online releases of products — but in the case of brands such as skincare startup Habit, this ended up with its product selling out and racking up a waitlist of thousands of buyers, according to Fortune.
“A lot of brands use ‘hype’ as a strategy to launch a product — but with hype, you get chaos,” said CEO Andrew Lipp, who cofounded EQL in 2019. “A lot of e-commerce platforms can’t handle the heat because they’re not built for that massive traffic spike.”
EQL’s platform stops websites from crashing following product launches so that customers can get a fairer opportunity to buy goods.
“The natural progression of e-commerce was a sweet spot for us to play in, because we took this erratic frenzy and found a way to manage it through technology,” Lipp told Insider.
The startup is currently “optimizing for the right revenue streams” — but says it generates money from the transaction volume on its platform. The company says it has supported more than 1,000 launches since its platform went live.
EQL currently operates in 11 markets, including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, and the UK, and is expanding in Europe. It’s got an exclusive partnership with footwear retailer FootLocker in seven markets, and works with footwear brand Crocs across its global markets, as well as luxury whiskey brand Sullivans Cove.
The round was led by US VC firm Insight Partners, which has invested in fintech unicorns N26 and Checkout.com, and Australian VC firm AirTree Ventures, which has backed graphic design juggernaut Canva and multimedia landing platform Linktree. Additional investment came from strategic angels, such as A Cloud Guru founder Sam Kroonenburg and the family office of Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, among others.
With the fresh funds, EQL plans to invest into improving its smart payments and scammer identification technology, and to expand its services across Europe and the US.
Check out the 17-slide deck used to raise the capital.