Gradient Ventures-backed Shypyard aims to ‘raise the sales’ for DTC merchants

Shypyard, a startup developing business planning products and services for brands and direct-to-consumer merchants, closed on $3 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Gradient Ventures with participation from Liquid 2 Ventures, Position Ventures and a group of angel investors that includes current and former executives and founders at Shopify, BigCommerce and SnapCommerce.

Dan Li founded the company in 2021 with Samping Chuang while working at LinkedIn. His younger sister wanted to start an e-commerce business to sell jewelry, but didn’t know how to do it. Li went to business school, and as he learned more about the e-commerce market from that and speaking with others, he found his sister’s problem was shared.

Tapping into Chuang’s expertise working at a large Shopify agency in Japan, they started Shypyard to build supply chain planning tools, including inventory, supply, demand and replenishment, to grow brands so they reduce the number of consistent stock-outs, inventory tying up cash and difficulty in predicting and forecasting what inventory to have on hand.

“This kind of planning is a daunting and unfamiliar task, but very impactful to the health of the business,” Li told TechCrunch. “It’s like taxes — it is annoying to do by hand, but affects your life if you don’t do it.”

Li explained that many of the similar supply chain analytics and intelligence companies, like Anaplan, have sophisticated tooling for larger companies, but are not as accessible to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Those small businesses also don’t have the professional teams to implement the tools. By targeting that small merchant niche with easy and simple tools, Shypyard is “democratizing access to planning tools for entrepreneurs,” he added.

The company’s technology has been working with about a dozen pilot customers for eight months now and has a handful of paying customers. The new funding enables the company to hire additional employees, enhance product development, increase customer acquisition and scale its artificial intelligence and decision-making capabilities.

“With the current macro environment we are in, entrepreneurs are inspired to start something, but are now facing headwinds,” Li said. “We are helping them manage their in-stock rate so they don’t miss out on revenue opportunities, or during down times, help with cash flow.”

Inventory infrastructure continues to be a big attractor of venture capital. Last week, Ghost announced new funding for its marketplace approach to managing excessive inventory. They followed Syrup Tech, which raised $6.3 million in new funding for its predictive inventory recommendation platform, joining other similar companies, including Zippedi and Inventa.

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