While B2C e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, make purchasing products online an easy, one-click purchases, many of the vendors behind the scenes are still using phone calls, emails and even faxes (!) to get orders out. Raleigh-based Corevist is making that process easier.
Corevist is a SaaS startup that provides a cloud-based B2B e-commerce platform for manufacturers using the ERP (enterprise resources planning) system from global software giant SAP. After 12 years of being completely bootstrapped, Corevist has just closed out a Series A round with Durham’s Jurassic Capital, which invested $2.8 million in the company in its first deal.
Jurassic Partner Kevin Mosley said he was attracted to Corevist because of its leadership by CEO Sam Bayer and by Corevist’s similarities to Bronto, the Durham-based SaaS marketing automation company founded by Jurassic Capital Partner Joe Colopy and where Mosley previously worked.
“One of the things that really drew us to them is that they were bootstrapped like Bronto was,” Mosley said, “and they’ve been through a lot of the same struggles that we saw Bronto go through. And they were very much like us in that regard. They had that spirit, that optimism, that passion, and they felt like a company we very much wanted to be a part of.”
Twelve years since Corevist was founded, Bayer said Corevist has reached a milestone with 45 employees and now its first outside investment. Currently, Corevist makes about $4 million a year in revenue, Bayer said.
Jurassic Capital and Corevist announced their partnership on March 5, and yesterday, Corevist introduced Bronto alumna Susan Wall to the team as its new COO.
Now, Bayer says he is looking to scale the company.
“I spent about nine months looking around,” Bayer said, “all over the U.S. and in Europe at different partners to help us in the next leg of our journey. And it turns out that that partner existed two miles away from my house in Durham, in the name of Jurassic Capital.”
B2B e-commerce has been slow to adopt more advanced technology in business interactions because of complicated business procedures for manufacturers and distributors—and this is exactly where Corevist’s expertise lies.
“The majority of business interactions between manufacturers and distributors today are still by phone, fax and email,” Bayer said. “We built a website that’s integrated to the back offices with an Amazon-like experience, so you don’t have to place orders over the phone. You can actually do it 24/7 around the world.”
The concept for Corevist originated with a similar product sold by a startup called HAHT Commerce in the late 1990s and early 2000s, where Bayer worked, but HAHT was bought by new owners who ended up killing the product. Corevist was founded by Bayer in January of 2008, just as the Great Recession was gaining steam. While other companies were going out of business, Bayer saw the demand for a product like Corevist’s.
“A couple of the folks who used to work with me back then came to me,” Bayer said. “They said, ‘Look, the market is still there. The manufacturers still need an e-commerce website, all the competition disappeared because they were killed in the dot-com crash, and we think we should get back together again.’”
Bayer, along with his co-founders, launched Corevist with their own funds, and the company has been profitable since its second year. Twelve years later, Corevist has 45 employees on two continents, North America and Europe.
Corevist and Coronavirus
From day one, Corevist has been a virtual company, Bayer said, so the Covid-19 outbreak has only minimally affected the way they’ve operated their business even given today’s social distancing measures.
“We have all the tools and culture in place, so we haven’t skipped a beat,” Bayer said. “Though part of working in a virtual company does not necessarily mean zero travel. There are times when you want to go meet the client, but we’ve deferred those and are pushing back to virtual.”
Since the situation is constantly changing, Bayer says he is still not quite sure how the coronavirus pandemic will affect Corevist’s business. However, Corevist’s primary market are large, international manufacturers, like Merck Animal Health, which sells veterinary supplies; and Church and Dwight, which sells, among other products, Arm & Hammer cleaning supplies.
“Manufacturers who are manufacturing non-discretionary food, machinery, I’m sure there’s going to be a bit of a slow-down, but they can’t stop,” Bayer said. “The service industry is going to get hurt pretty bad for quite a period of time, but we don’t work for the service industry, we work for the manufacturing industry.”