Faisal Masud knows e-commerce. The tech vet spent more than six years at Amazon in the 2000s, helping build inventory tools and launching the AmazonBasics product line. He then had stints at eBay, Groupon, and finally at Staples, where he was chief digital officer and later chief technology officer.
After nearly two decades in the world of online shopping, Masud has a good grasp of what works, and what doesn’t. That’s why he’s excited about his new gig as CEO of Fabric, a Seattle-area startup that just came out of stealth mode and today announced a $9.5 million seed round led by Redpoint Ventures.
Fabric is targeting mid-market brands that are trying to keep up with Amazon but don’t have the technical expertise or capability to build out a robust e-commerce systems.
“You can go as far back as what we built in 2010 [at Amazon], and these retailers don’t have anything remotely close to that today,” he said. “Enabling the business operators inside of the retailer to utilize a toolkit that can actually provide growth is a giant leap in helping these businesses succeed.”
Companies can choose to sell on Amazon, but they sacrifice the ability to build their own brand and connection with customers. There are existing e-commerce software providers that help support an online shopping platform, but Masud said Fabric sees a gap for retailers that have outgrown Shopify, but are too small for something like Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Part of the company’s pitch is that it offers a “headless” platform, or API-first e-commerce software that decouples the front and back-end of a given system. That provides more flexibility and customization for a retailer; for example, it does not need to completely change its existing software when using Fabric’s tools.
“We don’t make you go through replatform hell. We find the areas where your growth has stifled,” Masud said. “Is it your content management? Is it your catalog? Is it your order management orchestration? That’s where we come in.”
Some of the company’s customers use Fabric for their entire stack, while others pick and choose from its suite of commerce APIs. Clients include abc carpet & home; BuildDirect; GNC; and others.
The pandemic has caused a surge in e-commerce as people buy more products online versus at a physical store. That’s driving demand for Fabric.
“A lot of retailers that were delaying their decision to go online have now accelerated that decision,” Masud noted.
Ryan Bartley originally started Fabric back in 2017. He previously helped lead Staples’ Seattle engineering office with Masud; the pair also worked together at eBay.
Masud was most recently COO at Wing, the Alphabet-owned drone company where he launched the global drone delivery program for major retailers in food and pharmacy. After Amazon, Masud served as head of global shipping and fulfillment at eBay’s Bellevue, Wash., office, and later ran Groupon Goods from Seattle.
Sierra Ventures and Expa also participated in the seed round. Alex Bard, partner and managing director at Redpoint Ventures, and Tim Guleri, managing partner at Sierra Ventures, will join Fabric’s board of directors as a result of the new funding.
“The fact that Fabric is a force multiplier on retailers’ existing technology investments and can be live in weeks versus months gives it an incredible advantage over legacy platforms that can’t keep up with the demands of consumers today,” Bard said in a statement. “Since Faisal and the team bring deep operating experience from the world’s top e-commerce companies, the platform is built for the way retailers need to grow.”
Fabric employs more than 50 people and plans to hire with the fresh cash.