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Investing in Pietra: The One-Stop Shop Helping E-Commerce Brands Grow

Pietra offers the critical infrastructure to start and scale modern e-commerce businesses.

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By
Morgan Blumberg
Morgan Blumberg
Brent Murri
Brent Murri
Carter Reum
Carter Reum
By M13 Team
Link copied.
May 2, 2023
|

3 min

2021 was an explosive year for the creator economy. Hundreds of new startups entered the market, and VC funding into the category reached a new peak of nearly $5B. And one of the most intriguing startups to raise that year was an enablement software platform called Pietra.

The business’s funding announcement caught the attention of the M13 investing team—particularly for M13 Co-founder and Partner Carter Reum, who has seen firsthand the inefficiencies that creators face through his wife Paris’ consumer products businesses.

At M13, we understand that these new software tools and platforms can allow individuals and solopreneurs to create value for themselves in a way that was never possible before. With this in mind, we started to keep an eye on Pietra.

As we tracked the company’s progress over the next couple of years, we began to see a gradual expansion of its target customer. While originally Pietra sold almost exclusively to creator-led brands—like Crissy Teigan (Cravings) and Seth Rogan (Houseplant)—it was now beginning to attract non-creator DTC brands to its platform. Today, one-fourth of all Pietra customers are SMBs that don’t identify as creators or influencers—brands like Arrae, Curie and Finn. These DTC operators now use Pietra as the critical infrastructure and software to run their e-commerce businesses without excess overhead. It’s become the destination of choice to start and scale a modern e-commerce brand.

This new vision—building the critical infrastructure for starting and scaling an e-commerce business for all DTC operators—is what led M13 to preempt and lead a new $16M round of funding for the business. We believe this is the right team and timing to take on the expanding TAM across e-commerce sourcing, logistics, and distribution.

Pietra was founded in 2019 by Uber alum Ronak Trivedi and Pan Pan. The co-founders have worked together since 2015 and were part of the Uber leadership team that launched the UberPool product. One of the several novel features they built at Uber was the dynamic pricing strategy that adapted to supply and demand changes to offer optimal pricing for both drivers and riders—a feature that has also been embedded into the Pietra platform. But what stood out to us most about the founding team is their obsession with building “bits and atoms” businesses, taking inspiration from the Uber philosophy of using technology platforms to fix real-world problems.

For DTC operators, it doesn’t get more real-world than building, shipping, and distributing physical consumer products. That’s where Pietra steps in. The software platform provides three key offerings to customers:

Sourcing: Pietra offers a network of manufacturers, factories, designers, and photographers to make and customize an array of consumer products, from apparel and jewelry to home goods and more.

Logistics: Pietra offers a network of first- and last-mile shipping providers, fulfillment centers, and pick-and-pack services to efficiently deliver consumer products to customers.

Distribution: Pietra offers a network of sales channels (e.g., Pietra marketplace, Instagram Shopping, Faire) to expand the reach of a brand’s products.

By bundling these three offerings together, using dynamic pricing on the platform, and reducing costs at scale, Pietra aims to provide a seamless end-to-end experience at the lowest competitive price—making outsourcing these functions for even large brands an attractive and easy solution.

Part of Pietra’s new funding round will be used to re-launch and improve its fourth key offering for brands, the revamped Pietra Membership Program, which offers a comprehensive monthly subscription that includes all the essential infrastructure and software for anyone looking to start or run a DTC business. Pietra members will have access to thousands of dollars worth of software for free, including returns software, email automation, influencer marketing tools, and more.

The funding round will also be used to meet the increasing demand from e-commerce operators wanting to use the platform. Over the past year, Pietra has experienced tremendous growth, with 100,000+ entrepreneurs and brands asking to join the platform. The company’s membership program now has over 9,000 members and is still growing fast.

At M13, we’re uniquely positioned to fund this next phase of growth for the business. With the help of the M13 Propulsion Platform, our team of experienced operators, we aim to assist the Pietra management team in executing their vision of building the ecosystem that will power the next generation of e-commerce brands.

We’re thrilled to lead this new round of funding alongside a remarkable group of investors, including Founders Fund, a16z, TQ Ventures, Abstract Ventures, and UTA Ventures.Are you a DTC operator? Reach out to find out more about how Pietra’s product offerings can help you save valuable time and money as you scale your business.

2021 was an explosive year for the creator economy. Hundreds of new startups entered the market, and VC funding into the category reached a new peak of nearly $5B. And one of the most intriguing startups to raise that year was an enablement software platform called Pietra.

The business’s funding announcement caught the attention of the M13 investing team—particularly for M13 Co-founder and Partner Carter Reum, who has seen firsthand the inefficiencies that creators face through his wife Paris’ consumer products businesses.

At M13, we understand that these new software tools and platforms can allow individuals and solopreneurs to create value for themselves in a way that was never possible before. With this in mind, we started to keep an eye on Pietra.

As we tracked the company’s progress over the next couple of years, we began to see a gradual expansion of its target customer. While originally Pietra sold almost exclusively to creator-led brands—like Crissy Teigan (Cravings) and Seth Rogan (Houseplant)—it was now beginning to attract non-creator DTC brands to its platform. Today, one-fourth of all Pietra customers are SMBs that don’t identify as creators or influencers—brands like Arrae, Curie and Finn. These DTC operators now use Pietra as the critical infrastructure and software to run their e-commerce businesses without excess overhead. It’s become the destination of choice to start and scale a modern e-commerce brand.

This new vision—building the critical infrastructure for starting and scaling an e-commerce business for all DTC operators—is what led M13 to preempt and lead a new $16M round of funding for the business. We believe this is the right team and timing to take on the expanding TAM across e-commerce sourcing, logistics, and distribution.

Pietra was founded in 2019 by Uber alum Ronak Trivedi and Pan Pan. The co-founders have worked together since 2015 and were part of the Uber leadership team that launched the UberPool product. One of the several novel features they built at Uber was the dynamic pricing strategy that adapted to supply and demand changes to offer optimal pricing for both drivers and riders—a feature that has also been embedded into the Pietra platform. But what stood out to us most about the founding team is their obsession with building “bits and atoms” businesses, taking inspiration from the Uber philosophy of using technology platforms to fix real-world problems.

For DTC operators, it doesn’t get more real-world than building, shipping, and distributing physical consumer products. That’s where Pietra steps in. The software platform provides three key offerings to customers:

Sourcing: Pietra offers a network of manufacturers, factories, designers, and photographers to make and customize an array of consumer products, from apparel and jewelry to home goods and more.

Logistics: Pietra offers a network of first- and last-mile shipping providers, fulfillment centers, and pick-and-pack services to efficiently deliver consumer products to customers.

Distribution: Pietra offers a network of sales channels (e.g., Pietra marketplace, Instagram Shopping, Faire) to expand the reach of a brand’s products.

By bundling these three offerings together, using dynamic pricing on the platform, and reducing costs at scale, Pietra aims to provide a seamless end-to-end experience at the lowest competitive price—making outsourcing these functions for even large brands an attractive and easy solution.

Part of Pietra’s new funding round will be used to re-launch and improve its fourth key offering for brands, the revamped Pietra Membership Program, which offers a comprehensive monthly subscription that includes all the essential infrastructure and software for anyone looking to start or run a DTC business. Pietra members will have access to thousands of dollars worth of software for free, including returns software, email automation, influencer marketing tools, and more.

The funding round will also be used to meet the increasing demand from e-commerce operators wanting to use the platform. Over the past year, Pietra has experienced tremendous growth, with 100,000+ entrepreneurs and brands asking to join the platform. The company’s membership program now has over 9,000 members and is still growing fast.

At M13, we’re uniquely positioned to fund this next phase of growth for the business. With the help of the M13 Propulsion Platform, our team of experienced operators, we aim to assist the Pietra management team in executing their vision of building the ecosystem that will power the next generation of e-commerce brands.

We’re thrilled to lead this new round of funding alongside a remarkable group of investors, including Founders Fund, a16z, TQ Ventures, Abstract Ventures, and UTA Ventures.Are you a DTC operator? Reach out to find out more about how Pietra’s product offerings can help you save valuable time and money as you scale your business.

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The views expressed here are those of the individual M13 personnel quoted and are not the views of M13 Holdings Company, LLC (“M13”) or its affiliates. This content is for general informational purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal, business, investment, tax or other advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters and should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this content. This content is not directed to any investors or potential investors, is not an offer or solicitation and may not be used or relied upon in connection with any offer or solicitation with respect to any current or future M13 investment partnership. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Unless otherwise noted, this content is intended to be current only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in funds managed by M13, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by M13 is available at m13.co/portfolio.