The direct-to-consumer business world continues to be noisy. It’s not enough to just start up a business and advertise on Google and Facebook: Today’s e-commerce merchants have to be masters of 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 jewelry sellers and pivoted in 2021 to help creators build out back ends for launching and scaling product lines, raising $15 million in Series A capital in the process.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to run a profitable DTC business or e-commerce business,” Trivedi said in an interview. “We’re entering an era where you can’t just overspend and hack your way to continued growth. There are more channels and with lots of brands online, you need to stand out. Your content needs to be great and you need to innovate and be smart about how you grow your business online.”
Since 2021, the e-commerce infrastructure company’s approach to guiding customers through the process of creating an e-commerce business, including giving them access to over 1,000 suppliers for everything from sourcing to order fulfillment, has now yielded them 100,000 active users. Pietra also ended 2022 with a 100x increase in transaction volume and a 35x increase in year over year revenue.
Today, the company announced it closed on $16 million in new capital in the form of a Series A extension, led by M13. Founders Fund, which led the initial Series A, also participated in this round as did TQ Ventures and Abstract Ventures. Pietra raised $36 million in total, and the recent round boosted the company’s valuation 30%, Trivedi said.
With the new funding, Pietra enters the commerce enablement sector with a revamped Pietra Membership, a monthly subscription starting at $39 a month for access to free software tools on everything from returns to influencer marketing. It also has a third-party logistics network and sales and distribution channel. You can use Pietra for free. Currently, about 10% of its users are paid, Trivedi said.
In addition, the company plans to expand internationally, double its team and expand operations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York in 2023.
Trivedi called the recent round “opportunistic.” The company still had over two years of runway, but wanted to bring in some additional employees and meet demand it was not able to service last year. For example, Pietra had those 100,000 customer sign ups, but were only able to onboard a fraction of those as customers. In addition, the company didn’t want to raise a full series B yet until it hit some internal milestones with customers and product offerings.
“We want to build the world’s largest membership network for companies,” Trivedi said. “Over time, Pietra is going to provide all of 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 price.”
Meanwhile, as part of the investment, Carter Reum and Brent Murri from M13 are joining Pietra’s board. Reum, co-founder and managing partner, started M13 with his brother, Courtney Reum, after selling their spirits business Veev to Luxco in 2016.
He also watched his wife, Paris Hilton, scale her e-commerce business into a $4 billion empire, so to him, Pietra understood how to build a business from the ground up to distribution.
“Them having 100,000 members and 9,000 paying subscribers, shows you that thesis is spot on,” Reum told TechCrunch. “After tracking this company for two years, they’re at that precipice moment of all these things colliding: I love their background at Uber, their ability to think as a platform and how to power the next generation of DTC companies.”