Company Q&A - Moltin Assists Developers in Creating Seamless eCommerce Experiences
Online shopping, or eCommerce as it’s commonly known, allows consumers to buy the things they need without having to deal with the hassles of going to a store. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues with eCommerce, especially on the developer side of things.
Initially based out of the United Kingdom, Moltin is a company that has created a platform to assist those who are working in eCommerce development to improve the online shopping experience.
We spoke with Moltin CEO Jamus Driscoll about how the company was founded and how he joined after his time as the entrepreneur-in-residence at Underscore VC. Driscoll also explained how the platform works in several different areas in the eCommerce world.
Colin Barry [CB]: I’m a big fan of the phrase “origin story.” What are the origins behind Moltin?
Jamus Driscoll [JD]: As developers working at an eCommerce agency, Moltin co-founders Adam Sturrock, Chris Roach, and Jamie Holdroyd found the tools available to them to be too rigid and laborious for the types of commerce experiences the world would need. They recognized that traditional eCommerce platforms, while optimized for commerce websites as we know them today, add longer development cycles and hinder creative freedom due to the limitations of rigid templates, programming languages and steep learning curves. Their vision was to empower developers with the industry’s most straightforward and powerful APIs that enable them to meet the needs of the business swiftly. In Moltin, they developed a microservices-based framework that leverages APIs to provide ultimate flexibility for retailers to take an experience-led approach to commerce.
My background is in taking high-performing companies to market from startup through scale. I led teams at ProfitLogic and Oracle Retail before serving in a number of executive roles at Demandware. There, I led marketing, product management, and business operations teams in the US and EMEA, and saw the company from Series A through its initial public offering in 2012, and $2.8 billion acquisition by Salesforce in 2016.
After Demandware, I became the entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) at Underscore VC, a Boston-based venture capital firm and an early investor in Moltin. Underscore VC’s Co-Founder and Partner, Michael Skok, introduced me to the team at Moltin, and I was fascinated by their vision for the future of commerce. My formula for picking great companies is simple: great people, great market, and great product. Moltin had all three, plus the vision that “API” would be the three little letters that disrupt the $4 trillion global commerce market.
CB: What is the mission of Moltin?
JD: At Moltin, we believe that in the future, commerce will be invisibly embedded into our lives. Increasingly, consumers will expect to buy what they want, when and where they want it, without going through multiple steps of being redirected to a website or mobile app. Our mission is to enable retailers to provide this seamless experience to their customers through pre-built APIs which can connect all the components of a commerce system and deliver holistic experiences to consumers wherever they interact with a brand, including interactive digital displays, social media, smart televisions, video games or any touchpoint.
CB: Explain what your company does. If it’s a particular software/platform/service/etc. how does it work?
JD: Moltin is an API-first digital commerce solution that enables retailers to build distinctive shopping experiences and embed them into any device, channel or experience. It combines an extremely flexible set of APIs, microservices architecture, developer toolkits, and pre-built applications to make commerce development simple, lightweight and fast.
Moltin includes commerce functionality for shopping carts, checkout, product inventory management, orders, and payments. It easily integrates with other platforms and tools to extend commerce beyond traditional channels.
Moltin’s flexible, API-first platform is built for creative and innovative commerce implementations. For example, we recently announced a social commerce application for Instagram that allows retailers to engage influencers in promoting and selling products on their profiles. When followers see a product they love, they can buy it immediately within the Instagram browser. This creates a seamless experience for the consumer and a new revenue stream for the retailer.
CB: Who are some of Moltin’s clients? Is there any use case that stands out to you and your team?
JD: Moltin works with all types of retailers who want to go “off menu” and deliver shopping experiences that deviate from a typical website. While traditional commerce platforms provide eCommerce sites with minimal disruption, they are not flexible enough to allow retailers to easily extend commerce to newer channels of consumer engagement, such as social platforms, digital displays, content platforms - or even to develop web-based commerce experiences that are not highly templated. Moltin is built for these creative, innovative commerce implementations.
Our customers are continually looking for ways to drive growth for their business while enhancing the shopping experience for their customers, and Moltin allows them to take the experiences farther than they ever could with their legacy platform. Brands are embracing Moltin’s API-first development model because they recognize that it provides much more flexibility than traditional commerce platforms. Specifically, there is tremendous interest in using Moltin to embed commerce directly in social platforms, content channels and mobile applications, but the more we work with customers, the more they realize that Moltin can help them achieve multiple business objectives across their eCommerce operations.
CB: How big is the team? Looking to hire any particular position in the upcoming months?
JD: Moltin has 26 employees across Boston and Newcastle, UK. Moltin plans to double its headcount in the next year, hiring in R&D, sales, marketing and customer support.
CB: Has your company participated in any trade shows/meetup events in the Boston area? What about events outside of Boston?
JD: Moltin exhibited at Shoptalk 2018 in Las Vegas, showcasing commerce applications for Instagram and smart mirrors. Moltin will exhibit at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) from June 5-8 in Chicago at booth 1961 and demo a new commerce application at the show.
CB: What kind of funding has Moltin received recently and from whom?
JD: Moltin closed an $8 million Series A round, led by Underscore VC with existing investors Connect Ventures and Frontline Ventures in February 2018, which brought the total investment in Moltin to $10 million to date.
CB: I’m always interested in how a company came up with its name. How did Moltin get its name?
JD: Moltin is a play on the word “molten,” and the name is appropriate. Like heat transforms a hard mass into liquid, Moltin is transforming eCommerce platforms into flexible, API-first solutions that can flow into any channel, device or experience.
Images courtesy of Moltin.