Merchandise data startup Flagship has raised $2 million in a Seed round to help retailers to make better data-based decisions of maximising product appeal for in-store shoppers
The round led by Sydney VC Tidal Ventures, with support from Afterpay’s billionaire cofounder Nick Molnar, backing his brother Simon’s startup play.
Macdoch and Co Ventures, NRL player Luke Brooks, Fox Sports presenter Tim Mannah, Superhero cofounder Wayne Baskin, NORA chair Paul Greenberg, and Stryker president Maurice Ben-Mayor are also investors.
Simon Molnar grew up in retail via his parents’ jewellery store, working weekends at their store before turning his attention to online retail selling Pandora on eBay, and then joining his brother at Afterpay.
Now he’s set out on his own with Flagship – not to be confused with the US retail inventory startup of the same name, which recently raised a US$5m Seed round – which has launched its first product, a visual merchandising platform using AI to crunch the data, to streamline and optimise product placement in order to attract customers in a retail stores, from window displays to inside.
Molnar said he wants “Flagship to become the indispensable backbone of retail operations” adding that their startup embodies “the spirit of retail—an elusive blend of strategy and sentiment” true retailers understand.
“This recent round of funding means we can build the right products to enhance, uplift, and enrich the operations and bottom line for retailers,” he said.
The capital is also earmarked towards new markets expansion in Australia, the US and further afield, along with ramping up the headcount.
Molnar has already landed retailer customers such as Aje Athletica, Venroy, LSKD, Calibre and SIR as Flagship users. and Venroy to manage their physical stores just like how they’ve become accustomed to with their eCommerce sites.
Nadia Lotter, CEO of Aje Athletica, said Flagship is one of the first tools they’ve used that delivers real time data and insights into how people are shopping in their stores.
“We can directly drive accountability on merchandising our product range across the floor and surface the data the team need to action real-time changes to drive a positive impact by offering the relevant product to each guest at a store level,” she said.
“We can now finally give our store managers the confidence they need to make changes to the VM based on sales data and quickly gain feedback and approval from the VM team, ensuring we close the feedback loop and constantly pass back the learnings on a store level and improve our understanding of our guests in-store as we grow.”
Tidal Ventures partner Georgie Turner backed Flagship as the first investment from the VC’s third Seed fund.
“Over the past six months working with Flagship, we’ve witnessed Simon’s remarkable product vision and seen the impressive execution from his small but mighty team,” she said.
“Flagship’s ingenious approach involves harnessing untapped store data and cutting-edge AI to optimise retail operations like visual merchandising, fostering synergy between retail’s online and offline realms through a unified, innovative operating system.”