Over the past number of years, there’s been an ad-hoc explosion in ‘pop-up’ retail spaces. We’ve also seen the emergence of meaningful brands being built online that are finding in-person experiences to be massively additive to their businesses. As our world becomes ever more digitally connected, I believe we are increasingly yearning for complementary in-person experiences that are uniquely rich, fresh, integrated and responsive.
I’m thrilled today to announce Spark Capital’s Series A investment in Storefront, the world’s leading marketplace for short-term retail. Storefront makes it easy for any brand, business or artisan to find a space to showcase, market and sell their wares without any of the burdensome, expensive and long-term commitments of the typical lease. Some more details on Storefront’s terrific early progress here.
Whether you’re an Etsy seller, Warby Parker, an aspiring art gallerist, or Samsung launching a new phone, Storefront can help you find the right space for your needs.
On the flip-side, Storefront allows property owners to maintain freshness and flexibility with their spaces while providing higher yields. It also opens up spaces that would have never before been considered easily short-term rentable such as shop-in-shops, street fair booths, restaurants spaces and subway kiosks to name a few.
The seamless connection of online and offline experiences is a big deal, and Storefront is poised to help lead this charge. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with Erik, Tristan, Ron and the terrific Storefront team as they execute on this ambitious vision.
After the crisis of 2008, it became abundantly clear that our staid financial institutions needed reinventing. So, as they do, talented entrepreneurs got to work. We are now seeing the first wave of post-crisis innovation starting to bear fruit across lending (e.g. p2p), investing (e.g. crowdfunding), payments (e.g. simple api’s) and other key financial services categories. But we are just getting started.
I am convinced that we will see sweeping changes to our financial system and its institutions over the coming years. Although the financial services industry has typically been a laggard, it can’t hold on forever. Technology will fundamentally change this industry, like it does all others. In order to realize this vision however, the proper infrastructure needs to be in place.
Enter Plaid, a new service founded by Zach Perret & William Hockey that I am thrilled to announce Spark’s investment in today. Plaid is a modern API for banking and credit card data that provides developers with a clean, categorized view of user transactions and account balances. In addition to making financial data actionable and accessible, Plaid connects every transaction with a clean merchant name, address, and category.
By focusing on simple integration and high-quality data, Plaid enables developers to programmatically interact with core banking infrastructure and build applications that leverage financial data. Financial technology has always had significant barriers to entry, but with a modern API and rich, contextual data, Plaid is helping developers transform the way consumers and businesses utilize financial information.
In doing so, Plaid is enabling the developer community to create the next generation of companies. The company has seen significant early traction within accounting, tax, expense, and lending; however, as the platform has grown, developers have begun using Plaid across a number of other verticals that we never would have expected.
Zach & William have created a service with Plaid that has the potential to serve as the backbone for a new wave of financial innovation, and I’m excited to see what’s next!