This morning, our newest investment Castiron announced their Seed round of funding in Techcrunch. You can read about the origins, team, market, and more here. Castiron is a mission-driven e-commerce company that elevates how independent creators sell to their customers and provides them with resources and community to support their whole business. The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but this group has arguably been hit the hardest. Below lays out some of the details and reasons behind us making the investment.
Castiron was started by Mark Josephson with a supporting team of marketers, engineers, and customer success experts. He's been operating in the "SMB" and "Local" buyer buckets for most of his career, with stints at About.com, Outside.in, Patch.com, and most recently as the CEO of Bitly. After his work at Bitly, Mark put in the time and effort to really understand the community of local artisans and in particular the COVID-19 impacts on the overall ecosystem. We've done a bunch in B2B that has focused on the SMB buyer bucket, but this ecosystem was so fragmented we really relied on Mark to teach us and bring us up to speed. We had countless conversations with Mark about what has been happening in this world. After a lot of research and an understanding of how large and growing the market was, we were compelled to lead the Seed round.
Castiron is a building a mission-driven e-commerce company that elevates how independent creators sell to their customers. They are initially focused on the world of "kitchen creators" and are providing them with resources and community to support their whole business. The world’s best bakers, juicers, canners, jammers, caterers, meal-preppers, private chefs and other culinary artisans use Castiron as a central hub to sell their products online, connect with customers, grow their businesses and save time and money so they can focus on making what they love.
Mark said it best when launching the company: "Our artisans are not traditionally connected to “systems of success.” For artisans looking to create websites and start to sell online, they are met with horizontal, one-size-fits-all solutions that might offer “food templates” but disregard the specific needs of kitchen-based-creatures." We've seen the "DM to order" economy eclipse $500MM of spend on several major platforms last year. The creator ecosystem continues to thrive despite COVID-19 headwinds. Yet still, the market for this tooling is not being met with the existing companies in the category. Combining these trendsand pairing it with Mark and his team's maniacal focus on customer success got us really excited about the opportunity.
Castiron is a fully remote company with team members based in New York, NY, Indianapolis, OH, and Los Angeles, CA.
Bowery Capital recently led a $4M Seed round of funding into Fruitscout, the first software-only product for produce growers to monitor crops throughout the lifecycle, from bud to harvest. We are particularly excited about this investment as this is our first agtech deal, after watching the space and refining our thesis over several years.