E-Commerce Content Creation Innovator Soona Raises $35M Series B
Less than a year after its $10.2 million Series A funding round, Minneapolis-based virtual content creation platform soona on Monday announced the completion of a $35 million Series B, which will be used to fuel its rapid growth as an innovative digital tool for e-commerce brands.
Thought by industry insiders to be the largest capital raise by female founders in Minnesota, the funding round was led by Bain Capital Ventures with participation from previous investors Union Square Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, Starting Line Ventures, 2048 Ventures and Range Ventures.
Launched in 2019 by Liz Giorgi and Hayley Anderson, soona rode the pandemic spike in e-commerce, creating an online platform that provides turnkey product and marketing shots for brands through virtual video shoots with an unprecedented 24-hour turnaround time. “There is not a single transaction that happens on the Internet that does not involve a visual asset,” said Giorgi, co-founder and CEO. “Content is the difference between making a sale or not.”
Soona currently serves more than 8,000 brands like Lola Tampons, The Sill and Wild Earth in a variety of product categories including beauty, health and wellness, fashion and footwear, home and pet care. The company grew more than 300 percent in 2021 and 400 percent in 2020.
“Soona has defined a brand-new category in e-commerce,” said Scott Friend, partner at Bain Capital Ventures. “Essentially all brands now sell online, and to do so they rely on an integrated set of technologies to grow their businesses. One of the key capabilities that literally every online seller needs is the production of high-quality visual images. Soona is the first to solve for the visual layer of the e-commerce stack with an automated, cloud-based solution that produces super high-quality results for brands at a fraction of the time and cost of legacy solutions. Liz, Hayley, and their team have built a tremendous foundation of clients, technology.” Soona joins Bain’s growing roster of commerce-tech solutions including Attentive Mobile, ShipBob, Recharge, Bloomreach, and Flow.
“They don’t have direct competitors,” added investor Ryan Broshar of Matchstick Ventures, which primarily supports startups in Minnesota and Colorado. “Liz and Hayley always exceed expectations. We basically need to just get out of their way.”
The Series B funds will fuel rapid growth, Giorgi said. That includes new robotics for photography at the company’s Minneapolis warehouse and post-production technology to move toward the goal of same day delivery of assets to brand customers. Giorgi expects to triple the size of soona’s Minneapolis-based engineering team. The company’s team of 120 is on track to grow to 200 by the end of 2022.
Soona also plans to open “micro studios” this year in Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta, Giorgi said. No larger than 500-square-feet, the satellite centers will be used for product drops with mini studio areas.. Soona currently has hubs in Denver and Austin, Texas, as well as Minneapolis.
Listen: Liz Giorgi shares the story of her path into entrepreneurship, founding Mighteor and the early days of soona, on By All Means podcast.