The money, from investment firm Insight Partners, will fund expansion in North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe, the company says.

German headless ecommerce platform provider commercetools GmbH raised $145 million from venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners, the companies announced this week.

The announcement says commercetools—which launched in 2006 and introduced its commerce platform in 2013—will use the cash infusion to fund “ambitious expansion plans in North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe,” but did not provide specifics. Over the past 18 months, commercetools has opened new operations in the United Kingdom and the Asia-Pacific region, the company says.

REWE Digital GmbH, which acquired commercetools in 2014, remains a significant shareholder. Since its launch, commercetools has now raised a total of $167.7 million from investors across four funding rounds, according to Crunchbase data. REWE Digital is a unit of the German retail and hospitality business REWE Group.

Headless commerce is ecommerce involving a transaction engine—which is software that manages purchasing—that operates independently of a website or other type of customer-facing interface. A retailer using a headless approach employs sets of application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect the transaction engine to interfaces, including websites, mobile apps, search ads and internet-of-things applications. This is different from a traditional ecommerce platform, in which the transaction engine is tied directly to a website.


APIs are sometimes described as “contracts” that govern the way applications exchange data, while a transaction engine is software that manages online transactions, including payment and payment mechanism and the issuing instructions to fulfill an order. 

The commercetools software is cloud-based and built to reduce the development time and resources required for an ecommerce retailer to adopt and use headless commerce technology, the company says. Many other ecommerce platforms—such as those offered by Magento Commerce, Shopify Inc., Elastic Path Software Inc. and BigCommerce—offer a headless approach to ecommerce for customers that choose it. These vendors and services are explored further in Internet Retailer’s soon-to-be-released Leading Vendors Report.

Headquartered in Munich, commercetools also has offices in Berlin and Jena, Germany; Amsterdam; London; Durham, North Carolina; and Singapore. Clients include German carmaker Audi AG, Danish consumer electronics brand Bang & Olufsen, U.S. apparel brand Carhartt Inc. (No. 706 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000) and (No. 679), a U.S. nuts and snack food e-retailer.

As part of the deal, Insight Partners managing directors Richard Wells and Matt Gatto will join commercetools’ board of directors.


Insight, which invests in technology and software companies, has more than $20 billion of assets under management, the firm says. It has invested in more than 300 companies and completed more than 200 merger and acquisition transactions since its founding in 1995.