Q&A: Group Commerce Plans Hires, European Growth with $21M Funding

Years ago it might have seemed strange to see publishers and media companies getting into e-commerce, but New York-based Group Commerce is helping them do just that these days. Working with players such as The New York Times, Thrillist, and DailyCandy, Group Commerce offers content publishers a platform to bring in more cash with deals and other revenue channels. The company recently raised $21 million in a Series C funding round that included Jafco Ventures, Spark Capital Ventures, and others. Group Commerce, founded in 2010, has raised more than $40 million in total and plans to use the new funds for technology development, new hires, expansion in Europe, and to grow its domestic client base. In March, Group Commerce acquired British rival Dealised.

Jonty Kelt, CEO and co-founder of Group Commerce and previously a vice president with DoubleClick, spoke to Xconomy about the ways the media companies can monetize their assets, and how his company plans to grow.

Xconomy: How has the media landscape evolved over the last few years?

Jonty Kelt: Media companies and publishers have the assets to be successful in e-commerce. They have brands that people trust. They have great content, they have engaged audiences. So why only sell advertising around the content? Why not provide e-commerce offers to their audiences and generate a new revenue stream, which could be a lot bigger than their online advertising ultimately? That goes to the transition of media companies in a digital world.

Who says they shouldn’t do e-commerce? Our view is they should. At our heart we’re a technology company—software-as-a-service, white label e-commerce technology. On top of that, we have a range of services and knowhow to help them enter this new world. A lot of them haven’t done e-commerce before. Things like merchandising strategy, sourcing of offers, customer service, and marketing are services we add to our technology. One of the things we’ve proven is media companies can be successful in e-commerce. A number of our customers are on very fast growth … Next Page »

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