San Diego-based Pack is positioning itself as a leader in a newer market in the ecommerce space. Last month, the company announced a $3 million seed round to fund development of its headless commerce platform – a new approach to building ecommerce websites that decouple a site’s front end when customers browse items online from its backend where logistics like order management, product management and checkout is carried out for the business and customer.
“For a long time, everything was underneath this monolithic stack; everything was underneath one roof,” said Pack CEO and co-founder Cory Cummings. “What’s happening now is that when you try do that, there are many ceilings that a company like Shopify or Magento needs to try to build for – and it can be very challenging. Trying to be good at all those things is just a very challenging thing to do.”
To meet this challenge, companies like Shopify have begun building application programming interfaces that allow websites to tap into pieces of their platform – a front end or a product information management or order management system, for example.
What Pack does, Cummings said, is create front end website “heads” that tap into Shopify’s “headless” backend.
“And then what we do is pull data into our front end where a brand developer engineer can build a very fast and efficient front end using the data from within our infrastructure,” he added.
Pack uses cutting edge frameworks that help with a website’s speed and performance that match the demands of today’s online consumer. Its front-end platform for headless commerce enables brands to upgrade their digital storefronts with technology and tools simple enough for non-tech-savvy teams, yet sophisticated enough to be maximized by advanced developers.
“We live in this world where everybody wants instant gratification,” Cummings said. “Everybody’s either tied to TikTok or Instagram and if you don’t get your content in the snap of a finger, people don’t want to wait for even three seconds anymore, they want it instantly, and Pack uses technology to give you that type of experience.”
Headless Pioneers Early On
Pack was founded in 2019 and built some of the first headless storefronts in North America. The company now works with leading ecommerce brands such as Truff, Liquid I.V., Cuts Clothing and Prima.
Before starting Pack, Cummings was a software engineer at Brand Value Accelerator (BVA), building storefronts around Shopify for big brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Movement Watches and Red Bull. When those large companies, and smaller ones as well, began demanding faster websites, Cummings said he got idea to decouple websites as a solution for speed.
When BVA ended up in a successful exit, Cummings left the company to start Pack and pursue headless websites with a “tech-first focus, rather than marketing-first.”
Cummings and fellow founders Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Pizula and head of Technology Tyler Shambora bootstrapped Pack while developing the platform, which allowed them to experience “big successes and some failures” but also allowed them to “productize an infrastructure that we got to control,” Cummings said, adding that Pack didn’t want venture backing “upfront” because they didn’t want to “raise on an idea.”
Pack has now raised $6 million, including the $3 million round in December that was led by Northwest Venture Partners with participation from returning investor Alpaca and new investor Vanterra Ventures.
“Commerce innovation shouldn’t be limited by legacy technology or bolt-on bloat; the next phase of the user experience demands flexibility without complexity,” said Scott Beechuk, partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “Pack is uniquely positioned to solve these pain points with a headless approach that unlocks efficiency, saves time and money, and allows brands to focus on what’s important — their customers, products and sales.”
With the additional funding, Cummings said Pack plans to ramp up its engineering and product marketing teams and scale up the business through partnerships and sales “because we have a product that the market has been asking for quite some time now.”
CEO: Cory Cummings
Headquarters: San Diego
Business: Developer of headless ecommerce platform
Notable: Pack built some of the very first headless ecommerce websites.