Shoppable-Video Startup Lands Funding Round Led by Softbank

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Names have meaning. Parents who give their son the name Alexander surely want him to be great; the hope for a girl named Helen is that she will be beautiful. It’s the same idea with startups, and it’s a real bang when the name founders give their baby really works out.

On Tuesday, Fireworks, a tech startup that aims to help companies conduct live-streaming and other video ecommerce events, did just that, convincing SoftBank and other investors that it’s worth $750 million in a Series B round generating $150 million in new funding.

Spreading Like Wildfire

Live-streamed shopping events — kind of like a QVC for the internet — have long been popular in China, but remain a relatively novel concept in the US despite tech titans Amazon, Meta, and Google’s YouTube all offering live-streaming shopping tools. For SoftBank, which led the round via its influential Vision Fund 2, it’s Fireworks’ underlying tech that makes it an attractive bet.

The startup’s services allow companies to forgo streaming and hosting licenses normally needed to host interactive shoppable video on their website — untethering them from third-party platforms, and making it easier for consumers to complete purchases all in one virtual space. As the appetite for video shopping continues to grow, Fireworks has garnered a large, high-profile clientele:

  • Fireworks now boasts 900 companies using its services, headlined by grocery group Albertsons, which began using the platform last October.
  • Live-streamed ecommerce accounts for just 0.1% of all online sales in North America, i.e. less than $6 billion, per TechCrunch. Analysts expect the market to explode to $35 billion by 2024; in China, sales are already poised to hit $423 billion this year.

This is the second major funding round in as many years for Fireworks. In March 2021, the company raised $55 million at a valuation of $230 million, meaning the startup has doubled its worth in a calendar year. How’s that for a bang?