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Bolt Raises $355 Million to Scale One-Click Checkout

On the heels of raising $393 million just three months ago and pivoting to a four-day workweek, “one-click” checkout provider Bolt secured another $355 million in what it calls the first part of its Series E.

Lead investors in this round are funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, with participation from Schonfeld, Invus Opportunities, H.I.G. Growth, and CE Innovation Capital. Bolt’s lifetime funding totals nearly $1 billion, and values the business at approximately $11 billion.

Bolt’s latest funding round values the company at approximately 30 times its valuation 30 months ago, and nearly double its $6 billion valuation just three months ago.

In a blog post, Bolt CEO Ryan Breslow said the company will use the investment to accelerate product development and adoption, hire more product and engineering talent, ramp up both strategic corporate investments and partnerships and launch the e-commerce tech in more international markets. The company also aims to build more “Conscious Culture” initiatives like the four-day workweek to create a happier, more productive workplace.

The company, which counts fashion companies such as Forever 21, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, Betabrand and Badgley Mischka as clients, has seen significant growth within its partner network. In 2021, Bolt saw gross merchandise value (GMV) per merchant grow by 80 percent, while its total number of accounts and transactions grew by 180 percent and 200 percent, respectively.

At the center of the platform is Bolt CheckoutOS, a “headless commerce” experience designed so that the one-click checkout technology back end can be integrated within any front-end experience. This operating system powers the checkout experience, integrates with payment processing and lets users make individual accounts.

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The one-click checkout technology works so that after a shopper fills out the standard contact, shipping and billing information prompts once, Bolt will remember the information for all future references. The next time that same user is purchasing through a Bolt-powered checkout, the program will send a code via a text or email that the shoppers can type in to immediately check out.

Over the past year, the company launched new products like SSO Commerce, a single sign-on checkout experience that turns anonymous, guest shoppers into logged-in account holders. Converting these shoppers could enable retailers and brands to gain deeper consumer insights and feedback that they can use to offer more personalized shopping experiences. SSO Commerce essentially unifies traditional online log-in with Bolt’s own store accounts, which enables shoppers to use the same account across retailers.

Bolt released a survey in 2020 pointing out some of the friction in the checkout experience, namely that 70 percent of U.S. shoppers have up to six store accounts with different retailers. Surveyed shoppers said they opened these accounts because these retailers offered faster speed and convenience at checkout; the potential for discounts, rewards and exclusive product offers; and an easily accessible order history.

Over the past year, Bolt’s retail partners reported 50 percent higher conversion rates among shoppers using the startup’s checkout option. Additionally, these retailers had 38 percent faster checkout times, and a 54 percent increase in store account creations.

While checkout may be what Bolt has largely been known for, the company has established itself as a solution to help retailers compete with Amazon. That’s why Bolt includes features such as order tracking, fraud protection, payment processing and advanced reporting capabilities. The company’s own e-commerce apparel site, Bolt Collective, offers T-shirts, hoodies and crewnecks.

In the months prior to the funding, Bolt expanded into Europe, launched new strategic partnerships with Adobe Commerce and e-commerce platform PrestaShop, and acquired Sweden-based Tipser, a startup that enables shopping within any online experience.

With Tipser’s technology, Bolt was able to bring one-click “Remote Checkout” to life, enabling consumers to purchase products showcased inn an online publication, mobile marketplace, price comparison site, social media platform or search engine.

Based on its committed deals, the company aims to get more shoppers into its network, projecting in October that 11 percent of U.S. shoppers would be Bolt users by the end of last year. By the end of 2022, Bolt is shooting for this number to reach one-third of all U.S. shoppers, and then two-third to close out 2024. By 2025, Bolt projects its network will interact with eight out of every 10 shoppers in the United States.

Breslow estimated that 100 million shoppers will join the Bolt network over the next 18 months.