E-commerce startup Fabric, led by Amazon vets, raises $140M at $1.5B valuation to pursue ‘absurd’ market opportunity

Fabric CEO Faisal Masud. (Fabric Photo).

Fabric, a Seattle-based e-commerce technology startup whose leadership team includes several former Amazon executives, announced a $140 million Series C funding round, led by SoftBank, at a valuation of about $1.5 billion.

The deal makes Fabric the Seattle area’s newest “unicorn,” a privately held startup valued at more than a billion dollars. It’s the 18th company in the region to achieve that designation. Fabric has raised a total of $293.5 million to date.

Fabric CEO Faisal Masud said in an interview that he believes the 300-person company is just starting to tap its potential market opportunity as trillions of dollars in commerce moves online.

“There’s this absurd amount of growth that is just waiting to be taken,” said Masud, a veteran of Amazon, Alphabet, Groupon, Staples and eBay. “Frankly, we think we’re very small, and we’re going to keep thinking that for a very long time.”

“Frankly, we think we’re very small, and we’re going to keep thinking that for a very long time.”

Fabric CEO Faisal Masud

The company offers software, APIs, and other behind-the-scenes technology used by retailers and business-to-business brands for many aspects of online commerce, including pricing/promotion, inventory management, digital storefronts, and payments/checkout.

The idea is to give mid-market brands the tools keep up with Amazon even in cases when they don’t have the in-house technical expertise or capability to build out robust e-commerce systems.

Major customers include Chico’s clothing, McDonald’s, TriMark restaurant supply, L’azurde jewelry and, newly announced, The Honest Company, the sustainable consumer goods venture co-founded by actress Jessica Alba.

Fabric’s technology competes against offerings from companies such as Salesforce, Shopify and Adobe Commerce (Magento). In many cases, it provides an alternative to custom, in-house technology.

The company supports omnichannel approaches by retailers, spanning and integrating online and in-person sales.

The funding comes less than a year after Fabric closed a $43 million Series B round that valued the company at $850 million. Masud said the company hasn’t spent much of that prior funding round, and hadn’t actively been seeking additional investment, but decided to go ahead when the valuation matched its expectations.

SoftBank, which is making the investment through its Vision Fund 2, was joined in the round by Forerunner Ventures, Glynn Capital and existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Norwest Ventures and Stripes. Robert Kaplan, SoftBank investment director, will join the Fabric board as a result of the investment.

Robert Kaplan of SoftBank will join the Fabric board. (SoftBank Photo)

The company will use the funds to continue its geographic expansion, with a particular focus on Europe, the Middle East and Africa, adapting its technology to support new languages and currencies, and staffing up its teams in those regions. In addition, the company is looking to add new intelligence and autonomy into its commerce tools.

Fabric thinks of itself as the “AWS for commerce,” Masud said, referring to the Amazon Web Services cloud division that provides the underlying technology infrastructure for companies around the world.

The company’s approach is commonly known in the industry as “headless” commerce, separating back-end technology from front-end experiences to give brands flexibility in building out systems and customer experiences.

Fabric was founded in 2017 by Ryan Bartley and Shiv Agarwal, who were previously technology leaders at Staples when Masud was chief digital officer and then chief technology officer at the office-supply giant. Masud succeeded Agarwal as CEO in 2000. Bartley remains with the company as co-founder and evangelist.

Fabric’s c-suite includes business, technology and retail veterans from Amazon and other companies:

  • Stacy Saal, recently named Fabric’s first chief operating officer, previously oversaw the Amazon Prime Air drone delivery business, among other roles in a 12-year career at the e-commerce giant.
  • Umer Sadiq, chief technology officer, worked at Amazon for nearly 12 years in a variety of engineering leadership roles.
  • Karen Brewer, chief marketing officer, was a longtime executive at Autodesk and other technology companies.
  • Nevin Shetty, chief financial officer, was CEO of Seattle startup Blueprint Registry, acquired by David’s Bridal in 2018.
  • Val Rupp, chief people officer, is a veteran of HPE and Microsoft who was senior HR leader for Amazon’s Kindle division in the early days of the e-reader business.
  • Krupah Shah, chief legal officer, was chief privacy officer at Heidrick & Struggles and worked as corporate counsel at Groupon earlier in her career.

Masud spent more than six years at Amazon in the 2000s, helping to launch the Amazon Basics product line in addition to other leadership roles.

GeekWire counted 16 unicorn startups in the Seattle region as of mid-January. Temporal, a cloud developer tools company, joined the group with its $103 million round last week, and Fabric’s announcement adds one more.