Handshake Raises $14 Million in Series B Funding

By
Glen Coates
March 17, 2016

Today I’m excited to announce that Handshake has closed its Series B. We raised $14M in a round led by Sozo Ventures, and joined by our existing investors from Emergence Capital, Softtech VC, BOLDStart, Primary Ventures, and MHS Capital. Six years ago, I was standing in the cavernous belly of the tradeshow hall known as New York’s Javits Center, writing orders by hand on pieces of paper and thinking “I can’t believe there isn’t a way to do this on my iPhone”.  Today, I couldn’t be prouder of the now 60-person team that has come together around the belief that B2B commerce can be done better and has grown our original prototype into the complete platform that Handshake is today. Having now raised three rounds of venture capital, I have grown accustomed to B2B commerce not being seen as a “sexy” space. Helping manufacturers & distributors get the right products to the right stores through in-person and online ordering doesn’t often provoke the same emotional reaction as say, the Tesla Model X. Sexy or not, what gets me out of bed every morning, pumped to get back to building Handshake is the massive scale of the problem we’re solving. Wholesale trade is 6% of US GDP, and there is still $7TN worth of transactions that are not being done online. To put it mildly, that’s a lot of business. We relish the challenges we must overcome to build software that can handle the scale, complexity and nuance of the data and business rules in B2B, in many cases accumulated over decades of supplying meat & fish, or pet food, or camping equipment, or hearing aids, or guitar pedals, or … (insert something you consume on a regular basis) … to the world. Years of talking to our customers has allowed us to learn about all the nooks and crannies that make B2B ordering really work.  With our new funding, we will be making a major investment in expanding our product into an enterprise commerce platform based on those learnings. What this means is that we are focusing on enabling our customers to differentiate as the supplier of choice by building on top of our platform with their own custom data, business rules, and user interfaces so that they can offer their customers the experience that they deserve. In addition to developing our platform, we will be investing heavily in Handshake Direct Mobile, our mobile B2B eCommerce solution. It will enable shelf-side ordering from a phone or tablet for retailers who walk the aisles of their stores to restock their shelves and re-order from their suppliers.  Only a few years ago, a distributor couldn’t rely on a majority of their customers having a smartphone to place orders on, but the world has changed in a big way. It’s clear to us that mobile is going to be the most important competitive differentiator for suppliers in the next few years. We are entering an exciting time for our customers and our industry. For decades, the radical innovation in eCommerce and on-demand customer experience basically passed B2B right on by.  As crazy as it sounds, it’s still common to see “green screen” terminals used by businesses for ordering, even today. With our customers, we now have an opportunity to step together into a brighter future. One where the joy we experience as consumers when we order a car on Lyft or order dinner on Seamless becomes available in business life, allowing our customers to focus on the real reasons they got into business: passion for the products they make and for building great relationships with their retailers. To our investors: thank you for your support and conviction around our vision for transforming this industry.  It is a privilege to have you as partners as we build a great company together. To everyone on the team: we couldn’t have done this without you.  I am proud to come to work every day alongside you all and am deeply grateful for the blood, sweat and tears you put into serving our customers every day.  Nothing gets me more excited than the thought of all the things we’re going to build and achieve together in the years to come. - Glen Coates, CEO