Zycada exits stealth with $19m in funding and a bot to take on Amazon

17 Jun 2020

Image: © chiew/Stock.adobe.com

Zycada has emerged from stealth with a bot that aims to speed up e-commerce and help online retailers compete with Amazon.

Zycada, a start-up developing tech to speed up e-commerce, emerged from stealth on Tuesday (16 June). The start-up announced it has raised $19m in funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from Cervin Ventures and Nordic Eye Venture Capital.

California-based Zycada aims to offer a faster e-commerce experience for online shoppers, with the development of a bot that improves ‘time to interact’ (TTI) speeds.

In a statement, the start-up claimed that its platform can make TTI speeds 10 times faster than those on Amazon, which could enable online merchants to achieve faster online shopping experiences.

Zycada’s technology

Zycada was founded in 2016 by Subbu Varadarajan and Roy Antonyraj. The team developed a bot to fingerprint e-commerce sites and anticipate user interactions in an attempt to work ahead of customers as a personal concierge.

For advanced online shopping applications, Zycada’s bots are micro-programmable, allowing merchants to uniquely customise the shopper’s experience to meet their specific needs. The company’s tech integrates with existing content delivery networks and requires no code changes.

Zycada said that even some large online retailers “struggle to match Amazon’s speed and market dominance”, which is why it has set its sights on speeding up transactions.

John Hamm, operating partner at Khosla Ventures, said that the start-up already counts multiple Fortune 500 companies among its customers.

“Zycada has real market momentum before they’ve even exited stealth,” Hamm added. “The team is solving a critical business problem for a target market that is being fuelled by big macro trends.”

Funding plans

With its $19m in capital, Zycada plans to accelerate product development and expand its go-to-market efforts.

In a statement, the start-up said: “The e-commerce market will expand rapidly in the coming years, especially as public health concerns radically reshape consumer behaviour and further accelerator the transition from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping.”

Zycada has also appointed James Brear as president and CEO of the business. Brear was previously CEO and president of Veriflow, which was acquired by VMware in 2019.

“The current pandemic will permanently alter consumer behaviour in a way that will only hasten that growth,” Brear said. “However, for the vast majority of e-retailers to capture more of this burgeoning market, they need to overcome massive speed and performance limitations.”

He added that Zycada’s approach “eliminates” bottlenecks with the goal of “levelling the playing field between e-retailers and Amazon”.

Co-founders Varadarajan and Antonyraj will now serve as CPO and CTO, respectively. As part of the investment deal, Preetish Nijhawan, managing partner at Cervin Ventures, will also join the start-up’s board of directors.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic