Firework, a San Mateo livestreaming commerce company, secured $150 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
The company says it is now valued at $750 million. In 2021, Firework raised $55 million to value it at $230 million. Firework has now taken in over $235 million in funding since it was founded in 2017 by co-founders Vincent Yang and Jerry Luk.
“We chose Softbank Investment Advisers because of their shared vision,” said Luk in a statement. “We have big ambitions at Firework — to become the infrastructure on which the next-generation of the internet is built and run — and Softbank Investment Advisers supports that vision.”
Firework provides shoppable video and live streaming commerce capabilities for retailers, consumer brands and publishers that want to tap into their own customer data to build engaging video experiences across their own digital properties and social channels.
Last year, Firework was working with some 600 companies, including Albertsons Companies, The Fresh Market and Omnicom Media Group. Last October, Albertsons was the first U.S. grocer to utilize Firework’s platform to create, host and curate their own short-form and livestream video for the Albertsons brands websites and app to improve customer engagement.
The new funding comes as live commerce continues to grow in adoption. Live commerce is still most popular in China where sales are expected to hit $423 billion in 2022. That compares to the U.S. live commerce market, which is poised to reach $35 billion in sales by 2024.
Firework’s co-founders say there is much opportunity to be had in a North American market where live commerce represents just 0.1% of overall online sales, or less than $6 billion. Other companies think so, too. Startups like Upmesh and Drip are also attracting some of those venture capital dollars, most recently Drip raised $28.5 million for its livestream shopping approach. The industry is also dominated by Whatnot and Popshop.
Firework’s new round is a chance to grab more of that market share and invest in its technology and product development, especially with a shift toward Web 3.0. As a result, the company will be adding to its employee headcount in engineering, product and marketing.
As part of the investment, Linda Yu, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, has joined Firework’s board of directors.
“Short videos and livestreaming are now the default language for the digital era, which is reshaping how consumers engage with brands and products online,” Yu said in a statement. “We believe Firework empowers businesses to use video to transform their websites into social and storytelling hubs so they can build deeper, long-term relationships with customers. Vincent and Jerry have assembled an impressive team in the digital commerce space and we’re thrilled to partner with them to build a next generation customer experience.”
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