Violet is the universal API ushering in a new era of distributed commerce. Violet
prides itself in enabling any channel to launch a fully integrated checkout,
so no more painful integrations.
The team recently closed a $10M Series A led by Klarna and notable commerce
We sat down with Violet CEO Brandon Schulz
to dive into the behind-the-scenes efforts that go into connecting every
corner of the digital marketplace. We cover a range of topics,
Identifying and targeting unique segments of the Violet audience
How the team closed on a $10 million funding round within 90 days
The industry shifts they’re most excited to witness and participate
“We solve the expensive headache of building out individualized
integrations for every eCom platform. Basically, we do the work so your
company won’t have to.”
Building and connecting your audience segments
In Brandon’s words, Violet can be summarized as an API that simplifies
numerous eCom platform integrations into a singular set of
Specifically, Violet’s API makes it possible to purchase any good or
service online natively from any online channel, as if you were purchasing
directly from the merchant’s store. They do this by using a single API to
integrate a merchant’s backend with any online frontend experience, syncing
accurate inventory, pricing, tax, and shipping info.
As such, it solves the common roadblock of building a custom integration
every time you. It’s an issue most of today’s innovative eCom companies
encounter, but either doesn’t have the dollars or the time to
This pain also never goes away as you scale, in fact growing more
cumbersome as the company adds more tools and complexity.
However, the Violet sales model also expands beyond brands or companies in
the ecosystem to serve three primary audiences: channels, developers, and
1. The Channels
The Violet team defines a channel as any place where a shopper can purchase
a product that is not an individual merchant’s or company’s website, i.e.
your Instagram Shopping tab.
Violet thus enables digital commerce for channels by connecting them to
merchants, while relieving them of tasks like carrying inventory or
Put simply, Violet allows for any shopping experience to function like your
high-performing eCom website, but without the actual meticulous challenges
of eCom. Diving deeper, the company is based around the idea that any online
channel that has a captive audience can start to monetize by offering that
audience goods that are relevant to them, without redirecting them to click
out to merchant sites.
2. The Developers
There are always engineering resources and degrees of familiarity on the
other side of any channel, and in the past, it has been an exhausting
exchange to agree upon a joint roadmap and working style.
Any founder will tell you that engineering efforts and resources are
invaluable in the early days, so Violet gets your team back to building new
functionality in other high-impact areas.
3. The Merchants
Merchants, whether it be work-from-home artists to large-scale enterprises,
are going to sell their products across different sites and apps.
Violet enables merchants to connect with a consistently growing set of
sales channels, through which they can easily acquire new customers from
across the Internet.
“Some startups are still handling orders manually: spinning up webpages,
typing in credit card numbers, etc. And that all goes away when they use
Violet. Seeing that impact on their operations and customer experience is so
exciting for us.”
Orchestrating a $10 Million fundraise
In October, Violet raised a Series A round of $10 million
which was led by Klarna, the eCom giant and Swedish fintech company best
known for their post-purchase payments software.
They closed on the round within 90 days, a feat Brandon attributes to ideal
market timing, having a slate of primed investors, and the capabilities of
the Violet team that were crucial to executing a product of such breadth and
Another important factor that allowed for the round to fall into place is
the pure size of the opportunity. As Brandon tells it, had the financing not been so significant, the Violet
team likely would have hesitated on raising a Series A round so
As a result, the Violet team emerged from fundraising with $10 million
under their belt to continue building for a deeply integrated digital
marketplace, in addition to the potential of tapping into Klarna’s hundreds
of thousands of deep merchant relationships.
“Klarna’s seal of approval helped cement our faith in Violet’s trajectory.
After all, we knew the tech was ready – the question was if the market was
ready for us.”
The Violet Roadmap: Technical growth and universal checkout
When asked what they’re most excited about on the horizon for Violet,
Brandon and Tyler highlighted a couple of target areas.
Phase One: Unblocking technical growth for early-stage startups
A notable percentage of Violet users are early-stage startups who are
beginning to see financial strides and product-market fit, yet are held back
by less fine-tuned technical stacks.
Often in young companies, this manifests in something Violet calls "manual
re-ordering,” in which an online channel processes every step of their
merchants’ orders manually. This can create immense bottlenecks and
roadblocks to scale.
When companies like this migrate to Violate, they get a new infrastructure
that unblocks that center of cost and frees up the pipeline for
unprecedented operational efficiency and degrees of scale — which both
Violet team members describe as their favorite part of implementing the
Phase Two: Introducing a unified checkout that delivers
As Brandon tells it, a number of universal commerce API tools are floating
around the ecosystem, to the point where the term itself seems to have lost
its original value.
But while these tend to focus on static data, i.e. product data or product
feeds, the Violet team has been laser-focused on offering an unmatched
technical win: enabling and mastering full native checkout functionality
through an API.
The potential impact here is huge. Typically, the order of operations that
must occur for a successful purchase has typically been too multi-layered
for one channel or merchant to build their own integrations.
Building those integrations requires solving a number of challenges,
How do you make sure your cart is synced with the merchant’s site without
scraping or manual processes?
How do you calculate appropriate shipping and tax rates?
How do you update inventory and fulfillment centers
How do you handle returns and exchanges?
As such, the Violet team’s success in rebuilding this native experience for
non-native channels will only serve as a jumping point for continued
expansions and improvements for channels and shoppers alike. As the industry
and its shoppers continue to evolve past old eCommerce ways, it looks to be
perfect timing for the Violet solution.
“Building the checkout was easily the most challenging part. It’s what
we’ve put the most time and energy toward. And watching brands implement
this to build out new experiences is the most rewarding part as well.”