A two-year anniversary gift for online wedding registry and e-retailer Zola.com arrived in the form of $10 million in funding.
Zola will use the Series B funding round, which closed late last week, to enhance its web and mobile platforms and launch pop-up shops so couples can see and touch products, CEO Shan-lyn Ma tells Internet Retailer. Canvas Ventures led the financing, with participation by Thrive Capital, BBG Ventures, Female Founders Fund and Forerunner Ventures.
“Our vision to be the No. 1 registry in country. We’re going to be using this funding to focus on things that will get us to that No. 1 spot,” Ma says of the registry market, estimated at $19 billion a year.
Online wedding registry TheKnot.com, operated by media company XO Group Inc., No. 591 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Second 500 Guide, had 2014 web sales of $18.4 million.
Zola, aimed at millennial consumers, bills itself as the next generation of wedding registry. Users can pull into their registry products from any retailer’s website, and they can shop Zola’s online store for hundreds of brands sold by the registry. “99% of what we sell is drop-shipped by the brand to the customer, but we are the retailer in that we market the brands and handle the orders and customer support, questions and returns,” Ma says.
In the coming year, Zola will invest more in its web and mobile registry platforms, developed and run in-house, to improve how users discover products, she says. Product selection on Zola.com is based on data from what consumers choose for their registry. “Our strength is product design and technology. The largest team in the company is our engineering, and the background of our founders is in product development and e-commerce,” Ma says.
“Something else we’re starting to experiment with in the coming year is offline strategies—our version of a popup shop and Zola’s take on omnichannel retailing,” she says, though she declines to give details about where and when such shops will appear.
Zola, founded in October 2013, has more than 100,000 couples signed up to its wedding registry. It has grown revenue to $40 million increasing product sales sevenfold year over year and reaching break-even profitability in September, according to the company, which was launched by Gilt Groupe co-founder Kevin Ryan and two early Gilt employees, Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi.
In addition to such standards as china and stemware, couples can register on Zola.com for experiences, including Blue Apron ingredient and recipe delivery service, a wine fundamentals class in San Francisco and interior design consultations. Couples also can create a cash fund, and the site allows for group gifting for big-ticket items.Favorite