The supply chain isn’t what it used to be. With more and more sales taking place online, retail brands have started to meet them there by digitizing their own processes, from order management to procurement.
When consumers first began to shift online, the problem among brands was reaching them there. But now, with the rise of marketplaces and online retail, brands have an incentive to digitize not just for customers but for other businesses.
Crstl, which announced its nationwide launch Tuesday, is looking to help them do it. The company’s software-as-a-service application and platform offer a full suite of no-code electronic data interchange workflow automations designed to enable smooth transactions between brands and a growing network of online retailers, distributors and marketplaces.
The San Francisco Bay Area-based startup’s launch comes on the heels of a $4.4 million seed funding round led by Mastry Ventures, which has invested in other young transportation companies like Uber, Lime and Singapore’s Grab.
The round also contained funding from a who’s who of venture capital firms and angel investors, including Village Global, Alumni Ventures, SuperAngel VC, Mensch Capital Partners and founders and executives from Uber, Instagram, Shipbob, Motive and others, to help the startup build out its EDI-based platform.
“With our product offering, we are eliminating the hassles and complications brands inevitably face when transacting with retailers and online marketplaces as they diversify away from DTC,” said Dipti Desai, founder and CEO of Crstl.
Watch: What went wrong with standardized EDI practices?
An EDI is essentially an automated, electronic communication system for sharing information that has been historically communicated by paper, such as purchase orders and invoices. Many EDIs require the user to do some coding or customization.
But as a no-code solution, Crstl’s platform takes engineering out of the equation for retailers.
The startup also provides out-of-the-box compliance, testing and certification services, including generating shipping labels and packing slips. And when brands first start off on the platform, Crstl offers onboarding services to connect them with its growing network of trading partners.
In just a few months of operation, the firm has transacted millions of dollars in B2B e-commerce between brands and companies like Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and CVS.
“There is palpable pain felt by thousands of U.S. brands expanding into retail. Diversification from direct-to-consumer to retail and marketplaces is not a nice to have, but a necessity today,” said Fatima Husain of Mastry Ventures. “Crstl is the painkiller these brands have been looking for: a faster, better, affordable EDI solution. What Stripe became for the financial services ecosystem, we expect Crstl to become for the commerce ecosystem.”
Crstl’s offering is designed to help brands deploy an omnichannel sales strategy, which calls for them to meet customers on every channel.
While many brands have figured out how to sell directly to consumers using their own e-commerce sites, transactions have proven more challenging on the B2B side, which has faced several hurdles to digitization.
Those obstacles range from high transactional costs to limited availability of B2B shipping and fulfillment software. But Crstl figures to help brands address at least one of those issues.
“Moving our largest customers from our legacy solution provider to Crstl has been seamless as our business continues to rapidly grow, and has allowed us to reduce our costs and have easy access to our own data to better serve our customers,” said Josh Posner, CEO of EM Brands, an early user of the platform.
Click for more FreightWaves articles by Jack Daleo.
You may also like:
Amazon expands same-day delivery, invests in driver safety
Can charging infrastructure keep pace with EV demand?
Target announces massive supply chain investment