Despite the economic setbacks many sectors of the economy have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, one sector continues to show resilience—venture capital investment. Two recent funding recipients, projecct44 and SevenFifty Technologies, are companies riding the growth in ecommerce.

During the first quarter of 2021, venture capital funding in the United States hit $64 billion, the highest amount ever for a single quarter and equal to 43% of all the venture money raised in 2020, according to Ernst & Young.

Two companies in the B2B ecommerce space to benefit from the ongoing influx of capital from investors are supply chain technology firm sproject44 and SevenFifty Technologies Inc., which provides ecommerce technology and business software to the alcoholic beverage industry.

More than 90,000 restaurant and retail buyers use the SevenFifty online marketplace, which reached nearly $1 billion in sales volume in 2020.
Jett McCandless, CEO, project44

Jett McCandless, CEO, project44

Project44, a Chicago-based supply chain visibility platform provider, earlier this month closed a Series E investment of $202 million led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Emergence Capital. Project44 will use the new round of funding to accelerate the expansion of its multimodal carrier network, which provides real-time visibility into critical events and downstream supply chain disruptions across more than 48 countries and supports more than 16 languages. The money will also support project44’s expansion into Asian markets, expanding the company’s use of artificial intelligence and data science capabilities, new product innovation, and bolstering global sales and marketing efforts.

The ongoing investment in project44 reflects the rapid growth and maturation of the supply chain visibility market, as well as investor’s confidence in the company’s visibility solutions, project44 says.

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“Project44’s solutions help enterprises deal with some of the most complex supply chain challenges facing the world today,” says project44 CEO and founder Jett McCandless. “Goldman Sachs is not only a top-tier investor; it also has the network and resources to help project44 to deliver on our strategic objective of rapid expansion into China and other Asian markets. This investment will allow us to continue hiring the best talent, accelerate our global expansion and improve our products to deliver even more value to our customers.”

Project44 has more than 550 enterprise customers, including Amazon.com, Proctor and Gamble Corp., Starbucks Corp., Unilever Plc, Nestle S.A., Cargill Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd., and The Bosch Group.

Expanding growth in the beverage industry

SevenFifty, a New York-based provider of software and technology for wineries, breweries, distributors, importers, restaurants, and alcohol retailers, received $23 million in Series B funding led by Level Equity Management LLC earlier this month.

The new funding will be used to further the development of SevenFifty’s software and data services, with a focus on connected systems that enable better communication and more efficient transactions. The company also plans to accelerate hiring across engineering, customer support, sales, operations, and marketing. SevenFifty says it will use part of the money to explore future merge and acquisition prospects to boost the company’s technology capabilities and market reach.

The cash infusion comes at an opportune time, as the hospitality and alcoholic beverage industries are accelerating adoption of next-generation technology as they emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and position themselves for a significant expansion.

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More than 90,000 restaurant and retail buyers use the SevenFifty online marketplace, which reached nearly $1 billion in sales volume in 2020. SevenFifty’s platform includes custom ecommerce solutions for distributors and retailers, an aggregated marketplace for the wholesale alcohol trade in the United States, and sales enablement and CRM tools that connect distributors and buyers.

“SevenFifty’s mission is to power a connected beverage alcohol supply chain, and with this new funding we unlock the capacity to accelerate our growth and meet the demands of our partners across every category of the industry,” says Aaron Sherman, CEO and co-founder of SevenFifty. “Our team’s deep experience within both the beverage alcohol and technology industries, combined with our expansive network of customers, make us a unique partner to provide the tools and infrastructure for the industry’s increasing demand for digital transformation.”

Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.  

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