Two former Shopify employees believe they’ve cracked the code — in fact no code — for small e-commerce merchants to go beyond one-size-fits-all marketplace tools and deliver personalized customer experiences.
Corey Holmes and Matteo Grassi started Popup in 2021 after seeing merchants selling on marketplaces (e.g. Shopify and BigCommerce) use the homepage and a few given product pages, but then have to hack together half a dozen additional tools to build everything from customer relationship management to email marketing tools. Holmes told TechCrunch that these are often tools that don’t easily integrate with the mainstream e-commerce platform without requiring custom coding.
Although e-commerce has declined since stores returned to in-person shopping, global retail e-commerce sales reached approximately $5.2 trillion in 2021 and are expected to grow 56% to just over 8 trillions of dollars by 2026. That’s why Holmes and Grassi argue that legacy platforms that don’t differentiate storefronts or personalize the customer experience aren’t meeting merchants’ needs.
Enter Popup, a no-code platform for building, managing, and hosting online stores, from landing pages to ad campaigns to checkout, using a visual drag-and-drop editor .
“There are a lot of marketers we’ve worked with, and it’s opened their eyes to what we can do differently,” Holmes said. “When you look at Popup, we allow you to create any type of e-commerce experience you need in seconds. It’s just a drag and drop to connect everything based on your business.
The company’s platform started in beta in September and will be open to the public in the first quarter of 2023. It earns money through a monthly subscription and a cash processing fee. As such, Holmes and Grassi said they were unable to talk about traction other than they have 40 employees.
Meanwhile, Popup has raised $3.5 million in a pre-seed round. Holmes and Grassi had started a dropshipping business together, Viceroy Group, and grown it into an eight-figure business before launching Popup. This is therefore not their first foray into venture capital.
The round was led by Accel and included Seedcamp, 20VC and a bunch of angels like former Shopify CMO Jeff Weiser and Hopin CEO Johnny Boufarhat. The funding will be used to launch the platform, hire more staff and establish new partnerships.
“We’ve seen a clear value proposition with marketers who are marketing savvy, trying to grow and understand this stage of the journey,” Grassi told TechCrunch. “As we grow, we may move into other areas where we can deliver some requested features.”