Today we announced that Rubikloud has raised $37m USD in our Series B investment round. We are thrilled to have Intel Capital as the lead investor for this round, alongside investments from iNovia Capital and OTEAF. All three of these new investors, and our existing investors (Horizons Ventures and Access Industries), share in our vision that AI will change retail forever. This round combines the global reach and industry focus of Intel with the experience of enterprise software growth from two of Canada’s most successful funds.
Rubikloud has created a recipe for retailers to immediately benefit from AI and we won’t stop until we have established the industry standard for this software AND a billion-dollar business.
I was talking to my parents over the holiday break about what this round meant to Rubikloud and I described all of the office spaces we’ve ever rented as an analogy for each stage the business has grown through. We started with three people in my old apartment, then grew to 10 people in 111 Richmond Street, then grew to 25 people in 95 King Street East, and we are currently at 75 people in our home at 15 Toronto Street. The past 4.5 years have been filled with humbling milestones and lessons. Now, as we announce the close of our Series B and begin planning our move to a new office on the Toronto Waterfront, I couldn’t be more excited about our future.
Most of these fundraising posts focus on the details of the round and often mention little about what the company actually plans to do. Let me be very clear- closing a successful round like this one is a major milestone, but it is in itself not a reason to celebrate. What does this round allow us to do? Let me answer that question using three different lenses:
At Rubikloud, we genuinely believe that global retail is at an inflection point. We’ve always asked the question “what would you do if you had all the retail data in the world?” and I believe that it means you can truly shape the future of retail. The products that you and I consume on a daily basis, whether for pleasure or necessity, have an impact on the quality of our lives. I personally don’t want to live in a world without retail competition and only a single monopolistic retailer in every major region of the world. Consumers, today and tomorrow, will have different expectations for product development, the customer experience, and their overall relationship with a retailer. But the reality currently is that most retailers are not meeting this expectation. Manual processes in their core business are crushing large retailer’s ability to change. How they manage promotions, inventory levels, loyalty programs, and marketing programs have remained largely unchanged for decades. The systems they use are antiquated and the data that feeds their product development decisions are stale and irrelevant. Retail accounts for $7 trillion of global spend and retailers need a new type of technology partner.
If you’re a retail executive, please understand that the biggest barrier to adopting new technology, that could actually impact your profit and loss, is speed. Projects simply are taking too long to be beneficial.
Here’s my call to action for retail executives:
Meet with at least three retail-focused startups in the first quarter of 2018 and build a POC plan with each of them. We strongly believe that you need to meet technology partners that can deliver results in quarters, not years.
I usually open my public speaking engagements with the following:
“Rubikloud was founded in Toronto and has customers in America, the United Kingdom, France, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and investors in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, and Hong Kong.” We’ve been global since day one. Today we’re just formalizing what this means and finally putting serious resources behind this expansion.
The primary purpose of this round was to rapidly grow delivery and customer teams across the world and to continue to accelerate product development. This is because Rubikloud is also at an inflection point. We have had tremendous success over the past 2 years and are facing more deployments, customers, partnerships, and opportunities than ever before. We’re excited to immediately open offices in Hong Kong and London, and plan to double our Toronto team. We also plan to put teams in Australia and throughout the US for sales and client deployments.
I’m not shy to talk about how much I love Canada. This is the greatest country in the world and Toronto is at the epicenter of an AI industry explosion. We will continue to grow our executive, engineering, data science, operations, and product teams here in Toronto. While Canada has never been a great place to build global consumer technology companies, we have always been leaders in building world-class enterprise software companies. I’m personally very excited to follow in the footsteps of Canadian “unicorns” such as Eloqua, D2L, Open Text, RIM, and Shopify as Rubikloud aims to become a billion dollar AI company.
To use a very Canadian analogy – this is now playoff hockey for us.
In closing, I wanted to personally thank everyone who has helped us reach this milestone. From the 75 employees at Rubikloud, to their families, to our amazing customers around the world, and all of our investors and advisors, thank you for your commitment to Rubikloud and our mission to change global retail through AI. Now let’s get back to work.