San Mateo-based live-streaming commerce brand Firework has raised $150 million in its latest Series B funding round. It was spearheaded by Softbank Vision Fund 2. The company valuation now stands at approximately $750 million. It had raised $55 million last year, taking the valuation to $230 million as per serieslundentechcrunch.
Firework has now raised $235 million in total funding since co-founders Jerry Luk and Vincent Yang established the company in 2017. Luk has already stated that Softbank Investment Advisers bring a common vision to the table, while testifying to Firework’s future goal, i.e. becoming the preferred infrastructure for operating and building the next digital generation.
Firework offers live-streaming commerce features for brands, retailers and publishers along with shoppable video provisions. They can leverage consumer information to create attractive video-based experiences revolving around social media and digital assets/channels. Firework already had 600 companies on-board by 2021, including names like The Fresh Market, Albertsons Companies, and the Omnicom Media Group. Albertsons, for instance, was the first grocer in the U.S. to use this platform for making, hosting and curating their own live-stream and short-form videos for their app and websites.
The new Softbank funding round comes at an important juncture where live commerce keeps growing worldwide. It has attained immense popularity in China, with sales anticipated to touch $423 billion this year alone. The market in the U.S. is expected to achieve $35 billion in sales figures by 2024 in comparison. The co-founders at Firework opine that the opportunity is as big in the North American market as China, since live commerce takes up only 0.1% of total sales online (lower than $6 billion). There are other companies latching onto the segment, including start-ups such as Drip and Upmesh. Drip, for instance, has recently garnered $28.5 million in funding for its live-stream shopping model. Other players in the segment include Popshop and Whatnot.
Firework will be using its funds to capture more market share by investing in new products and technology development, particularly with a web3 shift on the cards. The company will be recruiting more employees in divisions such as marketing, engineering, and product. Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, Linda Yu, has also joined the board of directors at Firework. Yu has also stated that live-streaming and short videos are steadily becoming preferred digital communication models, changing modes of consumer interactions as a result. Firework, according to Yu, helps businesses tap into the video for turning their brand channels into hubs of engagement, content and storytelling, enabling the development of long-lasting and deeper customer relationships.