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CommentSold consolidates live commerce with Popshoplive acquisition

Illustration of a hand pulling a shopping bag out of a phone screen.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

CommentSold, a Los Angeles-based live commerce tech provider, is acquiring the assets of live streaming marketplace Popshoplive, the two companies' CEOs Gautam Goswami and Dan Dan Li tell Axios.

Why it matters: The deal further solidifies CommentSold's positioning as the largest provider of live-selling technology.

  • It generates $3.8 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) and Popshoplive will add to that amount.
  • Terms of the transaction were not provided.

Details: CommentSold provides what Goswami describes as a robust backend, while Popshoplive provides an intuitive, user-friendly frontend.

  • Popshoplive was looking to raise money last year to build out its backend when it was approached by Goswami during the holiday season, Li says.
  • Simultaneously, CommentSold wanted to build a frontend experience, Goswami says.
  • Rather than spend the next few years and tens of millions of dollars to build out those respective capabilities, the two decided to join forces.

Of note: Popshoplive investors — which include Benchmark, TQ Ventures, Mantis VC, Access Industries, SV Angel, Floodgate, Abstract Ventures and Long Journey Ventures (in addition to several celebrities) — will receive equity in the combined company.

  • CommentSold will acquire the target's assets, not the company itself.
  • Goswami and Li pointed to a volatile marketplace and declined to comment on valuation, but noted no money was raised or exchanged hands to finance the deal.

Zoom in: The deal closed a month ago, assisted by financial advisers Evercore and Oppenheimer — and the companies are already in integration mode.

  • Popshoplive will be rebranded Popshoplive, powered by CS.
  • Customers of each will now have access to a range of products, including website-building tools, fulfillment, and drop shipping

Catch up fast: CommentSold received an investment from Permira in 2021, and the PE firm will continue to satisfy the retail tech provider's capital needs, Goswami says.

The intrigue: CommentSold is partnering with social media platform TikTok on live selling.

  • "They have the eyeballs, we have the infrastructure," Goswami says of the partnership.
  • CommentSold will charge platform fees while TikTok will charge transaction fees, he says.
  • Ideally, users will develop direct relationships with the sellers they discover on social media, Goswami adds.

Flashback: CommentSold has also expanded its live-selling offerings with Videeo, a white-label solution for Shopify brands that want to add live video to their existing e-commerce stack.

What's next: CommentSold and Popshoplive will host a launch party on Sept. 22 in Los Angeles for creators and sellers, Goswami and Li say.

  • Further out, CommentSold sees more consolidation in the live commerce space. As it grows globally in 2024, it may make overseas acquisitions of retail tech companies, Goswami says.
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