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CommentSold hits $2.8B-plus in GMV as it looks to M&A

Jul 25, 2022
Illustration of three cellphones, each with a "like" icon, in a shopping cart.

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

CommentSold, a live and social commerce platform that generated $2.8 billion-plus in gross merchandise volume, may eye acquisitions in the coming months, CEO Brandon Kruse tells Axios.

Why it's the BFD: Permira-backed CommentS0ld is a U.S. leader in this nascent space, which received a significant inflow of investment in recent weeks, including competitor Whatnot's $260 million Series D.

Details: "Over the next 12 months, I'd say it's probably greater than 50% chance we will" make an acquisition opportunistically, Kruse says.

  • Targets could be competitors, as well as other online marketplaces, or enterprise software plays like its acquisition of Vizzlie.
  • "There's lots of opportunity on the table," he adds, as retail tech valuations decline and some companies in the space find themselves in need of cash.

Of note: The Huntsville, Alabama-based company acquired marketing message customization and scheduling tool Vizzlie and retail analytics provider Social Retail Success earlier this year.

By the numbers: CommentSold has generated more than $2.8 billion in gross merchandise volume since 2017. The company booked more than $1 billion in GMV by the end of 2021.

  • There are 4,000-plus retailers that utilize the platform and more than 95 million items have been fulfilled.
  • Kruse declined to comment on revenue or cash flow but did claim it has 25% of the market, has no debt, is well capitalized, and is profitable.

Catch up fast: The company received a strategic investment from PE firm Permira last year, and investor ZMC exited, but the terms were not disclosed.

State of play: Live selling as we know it today, may have its roots in the Tupperware parties of the 1950s, Kruse muses.

  • It then took a huge leap forward in the 1980s with the advent of home shopping networks such as QVC and HSN, alongside the rise of cable television.
  • But the emergence of live commerce online has scaled the ability to have one-on-one interactions beyond what was ever thought possible, the CEO adds.

How it works: "The one-on-one relationship in a brick-and-mortar store, but scaled to many," is how Kruse characterizes his business model.

  • Shoppers like the personal interaction, the sense of community and the entertainment aspect, as they tend to follow or be fans of particular personalities.
  • Indeed, Kruse believes that selling online in a live format could constitute around 25% to 30% of all e-commerce.

What's next: Last week CommentSold launched a new white-label live video commerce technology, called Videeo, which retailers can integrate into their existing e-commerce platform.

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