Knowing your customer is the golden rule of sales. Online transactions provide an unprecedented opportunity to truly understand customer behavior and purchase intent at scale.
E-commerce retailers that are not utilizing data-driven insights in their operations operate at a significant disadvantage to their data-savvy competitors. Swiftline is a one-stop platform that seamlessly brings data science to e-commerce sellers.
Data science and the insights it yields can be applied holistically to optimize the entire customer journey, handling things like inventory, pricing, warranty, market basket analysis, recommendation, upselling, sentiment through reviews, churn, lifetime value, and more. Optimizing these levers can mean the difference for establishing a flourishing and significantly profitable business for merchants. The company also provides non-dilutive financing solutions for expansion through Yardline.
AlleyWatch caught up withSwiftline CEO Ari Horowitz to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Raptor Group and Cloverhill Ventures led the $12M Series A financing round with participation from Atalaya Capital Management LP, The Benvolio Group (The Frankfort Family Office), Corner Capital Management, Thrasio, Evolution VC Partners, Gaingels, and Ulysses Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that Swiftline offers.
Swiftline is an integrated data and technology platform enabling e-commerce sellers with optimization strategies, business-building solutions, and access to growth capital. Our go-to-market, customer-facing brand is Yardline. Swiftline is the holding company.
What inspired the start of Swiftline?
Anthony Johnson, Swiftline CTO, and I were part of the initial senior leadership team at Thrasio. Anthony’s mission at Thrasio was to build a suite of technology services to enable brand managers to be smarter and more efficient. In hindsight, this was a “GI Jane” mission because building advanced technology inside a CPG company, for many reasons, is not a winning strategy. When Yardline was sold to Thrasio in June 2021, Anthony and I (along with Tomo) reconnected and decided the timing was right to do what Anthony was tasked to do at Thrasio but as an independent company.
How is Swiftline different?
Swiftline is a one-stop-shop platform for DTC and Private Label brands that are looking to scale and be more competitive in the e-commerce space. We provide not just the data outputs, but actionable insights on propelling e-commerce businesses.
What market does Swiftline target and how big is it?
Swiftline targets e-commerce sellers, DTC brands, and third-party marketplaces. This is a very saturated market.
What’s your business model?
Swiftline is an e-commerce SaaS company that also includes a fintech e-commerce capital provider business.
What are your post-COVID office plans?
We are looking forward to getting back to the office. We have a mix of very senior execs with a young, hungry, smart team. Our people are our greatest asset, and we feel the osmosis of knowledge and expertise for the next leaders of our company is much more efficient in an office environment.
What was the funding process like?
We are fortunate to have a network of deep-pocketed financial partners with whom we’ve had successful exits. They were excited to partner with this team to attack this massive opportunity.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We were fortunate that raising capital was mostly a seamless process because we have done business in the past with our financial partners.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Investors were eager to write checks to back a leadership team that has had success operating, financing and acquiring e-commerce businesses to pursue building and acquiring an integrated SaaS platform to propel e-commerce businesses.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In the next six months, we plan to aggressively accelerate and take advantage of the Yardline business to continue to build a loyal customer base to whom we can provide additional products and services. This will require closing a Series B financing as well as finding and closing strategic acquisitions.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
The private capital markets typically lag the public markets by about six months. There is a short window to take advantage of the large pools of capital that are still available before valuations follow that of the public market pullback. My advice is to either raise quickly or find an acquisition partner that has a strong balance sheet.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We intend to continue to build and acquire technologies that propel e-commerce businesses. This will require world-class execution in all areas of the business. We’re currently in our infant stage and we need to learn to walk.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?
My favorite restaurant for outdoor dining is Hancock Street because it’s beautiful, the people-watching is great, and the food is excellent. I have to admit I’m also biased because I’m an investor. I also love Morandi for the same reasons (other than owning a piece) and my wife and I got engaged there TWICE!