Friday, September 17, 2021

Builder Finds $ 55 Million for Tech Driving Search and Discovery for Ecommerce Businesses – TechCrunch

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One of the biggest problems in the world of e-commerce is the situation of shopping cart abandonment – when shoppers don’t get what they want fast enough, either to find the right item or to pay for it quickly and easily. . – bounce. That singular issue is driving a wave of tech development to make the experience more and more seamless, and today one of the companies closely involved in that space is announcing some funding thanks to healthy growth.

Builder, which has developed technology that powers product discovery and search tools for e-commerce businesses, has raised $ 55 million in a Series A funding round. Builder says it drives “billions” of inquiries each month , with revenues that grew 233% in the last year. Clients he works with include Sephora, Walmart’s Bonobos, Backcountry, and many other big names.

The round is being led by Silversmith Capital Partners, who coincidentally, just today, spearheaded another round for an e-commerce startup, Zonos.

Added to this is a long list of notable individual investors. Among them are David Fraga, former president of InVision; Kevin Weil, former product manager for Twitter and Instagram; Jason Finger, founder of Seamless; Carl Sparks, former CEO of Travelocity; Robyn Peterson, CNN’s chief technology officer; Dave Heath, founder of Bombas; Ryan Barretto, president of Sprout Social; Melody Hildebrandt, FOX Engineering EVP and CISO; Zander Rafael, co-founder of Better.com; and Seth Shaw, CRO of Airtable. The Cap Table Coalition, a company that helps underrepresented fund investors support new startups, also participated. Fraga joins the builders board with this round.

The last year and a half has been a great one for the world of e-commerce, with more traffic, transactions and online retailers in the wake of social distancing measures affecting physical and in-person purchases. But that has also exposed a lot of the cracks in how e-commerce works (or doesn’t work, as the case may be).

One of the most dysfunctional areas is search and discovery. As most of us have unfortunately learned first-hand, when we search for things in the search window of an online store, it almost always happens that the results do not have what we want.

When we browse as we would in a physical store, because we are not sure what we want, too often we are not asked for images of things that we would really like to buy. They may be there (we usually visit sites because we already know them or have seen something we like elsewhere), but nevertheless, finding what we would really like to buy can take a long time, and in many cases it may never be. happen in Alles.

Eli Finkelshteyn, CEO and founder of Constructor, says that one of the problems is that search and discovery are often constructed as static experiences – they are designed to meet a one-size-fits-all model where site architects have effectively guessed what is a buyer. could want, and built for that. This is an area that Constructor has reconsidered, specifically by making search and discovery more dynamic and responsive to what happened before visiting a site.

“One of the things that is wrong with product discovery is that sites prescriptively show you what they think is valuable to you,” he said. “We believe that the process should be descriptive.”

As an example, he talked about Cheetos. Sometimes people who want to buy them start by browsing to the French fries category. In many static searches, those results may not include Cheetos. Some people may abandon their search altogether (bounce), but some may turn away from that and specifically search for Cheetos and add them to their carts. In a more dynamic and descriptive environment, Finkelshteyn believes that these two streams should subsequently inform all future chip searches.

“We take into account all the data that we can learn from, and that list is always growing,” he said. “The goal is that everything we can learn from becomes part of the user experience.”

Google is the undisputed leader in the world of search today, and it also uses many dynamic tools based on artificial intelligence to learn and modify how you search and what results it produces.

Interestingly, you haven’t extended as much of this to third parties as you might think. The company closed its own site search product in 2017 and now if you search for it you will be redirected to the enterprise enterprise search suite.

However, there are others who have also stepped into that void to provide services that compete with Constructor, such as Algolia, Yext, Elasticsearch, and more. Finkelshteyn believes that among all of these, none has managed to provide a service like Constructor that constantly learns and adjusts its results based on search and browsing activity.

This is one of the reasons why the company has stood out among its clients and investors.

“Constructor has created a search and discovery platform that is really making a difference for enterprise retailers. They are providing customers with comprehensive and streamlined search and discovery that is unmatched in the market, ”said Sri Rao, Board Member of Constructor and General Partner of Silversmith Capital Partners, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with the Constructor team as they continue to revolutionize search and discovery capabilities for retailers across all platforms.”

Looking ahead, there will be some exciting opportunities ahead for Constructor to take its search and discovery tools to new frontiers. These could include ways to attract and account for shoppers on third-party platforms (Builder doesn’t currently push experiences on, say, social media, so it’s a potential area to explore), as well as more offline experiences. , critics as retailers and shoppers take more mixed approaches that can start online and end in stores, or proceed the other way around, or find users walking around with their phones to shop even when in physical stores.

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