The direct-to-consumer business world remains turbulent. It’s not enough to just start a business and advertise on Google and Facebook: Today’s e-commerce sellers need to master all channels.
That’s where Pietra comes in. The ex-Uber team, led by Ronak Trivedi, co-founder and CEO, started in 2019 as a marketplace for jewelers and changed in 2021 to help makers build out back-ends for launching and scaling product lines. raising $15 million in Series A capital in the process.
“It’s getting harder and harder to run a profitable DTC business or e-commerce business,” Trivedi said in an interview. “We are entering an era where you can’t just overspend and hack your way to further growth. There are more channels and with many brands online, you need to stand out. Your content has to be great and you have to innovate and be smart about how you grow your business online.”
Since 2021, the ecommerce infrastructure company’s approach to guiding customers through the process of setting up an ecommerce business, including access to over 1,000 suppliers for everything from sourcing to order fulfillment, has now earned them 100,000 active users. Pietra also ended 2022 with a 100x increase in transaction volume and a 35x year-over-year increase in revenue.
Today, the company announced it has closed $16 million in new capital in the form of a Series A extension, led by M13. Founders Fund, which led the first Series A, also participated in this round, as did TQ Ventures and Abstract Ventures. Pietra raised a total of $36 million and the recent round boosted the company’s valuation by 30%, Trivedi said.
With the new funding, Pietra enters the commerce activation industry with a renewed Pietra Membership, a monthly subscription starting at $39 per month for access to free software tools for everything from returns to influencer marketing. It also has an external logistics network and a sales and distribution channel. You can use Pietra for free. Currently, about 10% of users are paid, Trivedi said.
In addition, the company plans to expand internationally in 2023, doubling the team and expanding operations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
Trivedi called the recent round “opportunistic.” The company still had runway for more than two years, but wanted to bring on some extra workers to meet the demand it couldn’t serve last year. For example, Pietra had those 100,000 customer signups, but was only able to get a fraction of them on board as customers. In addition, the company didn’t want to release a full Series B until it reached some internal milestones with customers and product offerings.
“We want to build the world’s largest corporate membership network,” said Trivedi. “Over time, Pietra will deliver all the tools, apps and software that people are used to spending a lot of money on, but will be available to members at a fraction of the cost.”
Meanwhile, as part of the investment, M13’s Carter Reum and Brent Murri join Pietra’s board. Reum, co-founder and managing partner, started M13 with his brother, Courtney Reum, after selling their liquor business Veev to Luxco in 2016.
He also watched his wife, Paris Hilton, scale her e-commerce business into a $4 billion empire, so for him, Pietra understood how to build a business from the ground up all the way to distribution.
“They have 100,000 members and 9,000 paying subscribers, showing that this thesis is perfect,” Reum told EntertainmentCab. “Having followed this company for two years, they’re at the pivotal moment where all these things collide: I love their background at Uber, their ability to think like a platform and how they’re building the next generation. power DTC companies.”