The Retail / FinTech Collision — Why We’re Excited to Work with Daniel Eckert
We introduced the Commerce Continuum 3 years ago, because we recognized that the experience of shopping (what and where we buy) and the utility of financial services (how we pay for, save for and protect the things we purchase) will become ever more intertwined in the field of commerce. Retailers and brands are increasingly integrating frictionless payment and financing options into the shopping journey. Meanwhile, leading financial institutions see the threat of disintermediation ahead and are pursuing strategic distribution opportunities with leading merchants and commerce platforms, such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Shopify.
As we look to the future of commerce, it seems increasingly likely that retail-embedded financial services will play a critical role, as evidenced by the rapid rise of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platforms like Affirm, Afterpay, Bread and Klarna (collectively, valued at over $100B). Commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce will leverage their gatekeeping abilities to strike strategic deals with financial institutions for distribution to and through the masses of e-commerce merchants they power. Commerce ecosystem proprietors, such as Amazon, Apple and Google will develop private labeled financial offerings to capture as much of this opportunity as they can. While next-generation payments innovators, such as Adyen, Paypal, Square and Stripe, work to develop and popularize their commerce capabilities and ensure their role in the future of embedded financial services distribution.
Recently, the industry took notice as Walmart announced their plans to incubate a FinTech startup designed to deliver financial modern and affordable financial solutions. For industry insiders, Walmart’s interest in financial services is not news at all. For years, the leading retailer has been pioneering efforts to bring affordable financial services, such as direct banking (Bluebird), early wage access (Instapay) and money transfer,to its customers and employees. The executive leading these efforts for the past decade has been Daniel Eckert, a long-time industry friend and thought leader.
Today, we’re excited to announce that Daniel will be joining Commerce Ventures as Senior Adviser to help us identify opportunities at the intersection of retail and financial services. As many in our industry know, Commerce Ventures is an early-stage venture firm focused on the enablers and platforms that are helping to digitize these industries, and our investments include some of the leading platforms which power this critical evolution. For instance, payments powerhouse Marqeta powers commerce innovators like Affirm, DoorDash, Instacart and Square. Fraud prevention leader Forter protects leading merchants like Nordstrom, Priceline and Sephora as their e-commerce businesses continue to flourish, as well as innovators such as Fiverr, Instacart and OpenPay.
While we have known Daniel for a very long time, we are so excited to work more closely with him, both on exploring investment themes in commerce, as well as helping our portfolio companies think through the opportunities ahead in this ever evolving landscape. We hope you will all join us in welcoming Daniel to the Commerce Ventures family!