Business development / Ecommerce / Investing

Ecommerce platform WebLinc raises $6M from Safeguard Scientifics

After two decades of bootstrapping, CEO Darren Hill said it was the right time to raise funds.

WebLinc cofounder and CEO Darren Hill. (Photo courtesy)

After two decades of bootstrapping, WebLinc raised its first round of venture funding. The Old City ecommerce platform raised $6 million from Wayne-based Safeguard Scientifics, it announced today.

WebLinc will use the money to grow its sales and product development teams, add new features to its platform and focus on a new revenue model: allowing other companies to implement the WebLinc platform. We first reported on the company’s fundraising efforts last winter.

It was the right time to raise funding because of a market opportunity, said CEO Darren Hill in an interview with Philly yesterday. WebLinc’s target market are “mid-market” ecommerce companies that have anywhere from $10 million to $150 million in revenue, and right now, WebLinc has the chance to capitalize on that market because many of its competitors have been acquired by giants like Oracle or SAP, he said.

“We can continue to grow every year at 30 or so percent but there’s a huge opportunity right now to completely dominate this middle market,” Hill said.

Those mid-market ecommerce companies want to work with smaller, nimble companies that are quick to adapt — a luxury that corporations don’t have.

WebLinc will add about 15-20 people to its staff of 120, Hill said, including a head of sales. Currently, WebLinc has one staffer who oversees both sales and marketing. Sales will be a crucial part of their growth strategy (“We don’t want to take years to reach all these [customers],” he said). Still, adding a dozen sales people is still modest: Hill noted that WebLinc is competing with companies that have sales teams of 250.

The company had its choice of four different investors but ended up going with Safeguard, in part because it is publicly-traded and self-funded, Hill said. The local aspect was helpful but not necessary, he added. Safeguard’s Erik Rasmussen will join WebLinc’s board.

WebLinc’s customers include Nasty Gal, Free People and Sanrio.

Companies: Safeguard Scientifics / WebLinc

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