Canadian tech startup Calico secures $2.1m to revolutionize modern supply chains
Calico, the developer of the first AI-powered smart supply chain management platform, announced it has raised $2 million in seed funding. The growth financing is led by Serena Ventures following 300% growth since January 2022. Calico's customer base ranges from emerging DTC brands to multi-million-dollar retail companies.
Through their end-to-end operating system, Calico provides brands a single source of truth for their product development, merchandising and purchasing functions. Coupled with Calico's platform, is a sought after and extensively vetted manufacturing network that enables brands to stand up new product lines instantly. Brands using Calico have successfully reduced expensive production errors, accelerated time to market by 25 percent, and partnered with some of the world's most coveted manufacturers.
Serena Williams, Founder, Serena Ventures, who also runs her own fashion brand, S By Serena: "We're excited to partner with this world-class team on their mission to help brands take back control of their supply chain. I have experienced the exact problem Calico is solving and have rarely come across a business as in tune with the industry's challenges and limitations as Calico. It's a category-defining product that will have an outsized impact on retail, and there couldn't be a more critical time to help them succeed."
Joining Serena Ventures in the heavily oversubscribed seed round is Maple VC, Inovia Capital, Hyphen Capital and a group of early Shopify employees. The startup has also garnered investments from leaders at renowned tech companies including Allen Shim, former CFO of Slack, Jeremy Lai, CEO of Italic and Deborah Liu, CEO of Ancestry. The company previously raised pre-seed funding from Forum Ventures. The new round brings Calico's funding total to date to $2.15 million.
Kathleen Chan, CEO, Calico: "Supply chains are notoriously slow, fragmented and analog. Last year alone demonstrated how fragile supply chains are across the world and how desperately a solution is needed. This new round of investment will help Calico solve these challenges through our platform and factory network. Our partners at Serena Ventures have such deep expertise on the intricacies of brands that their counsel and investment will unlock exponential growth for Calico."
What distinguishes Calico from similar offerings is how they service the supply chain from concept to full production. Calico works as an extension of a brand's sourcing and production team, empowering smaller brands to compete with giant retailers and achieve economies of scale. Streamlined supply chains mean accurate forecasting, inventory arriving when it's needed, less cash held up in excess inventory.
Started after the founder's lived experience scaling multiple DTC brands, Calico tackles critical supply chain problems that hinder most fast-growing brands. Today, products reach consumers through a chain made up of manufacturers, logistics firms, and retailers. Not surprisingly, the system is highly complex, fragmented, and under pressure.
Current supply chains are marred by manual workflows and broken processes, which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in the apparel and accessories industry, Calico's main industry focus, $1.4 trillion is spent annually on inventory. This spending is usually managed on spreadsheets, email, or clunky outdated systems. With brands growing at a record pace and their spending increasing, these antiquated methods are no longer feasible.