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SoftBank leads $150 million round for buyable Firework video – TechCrunch

Firework, a San Mateo live-streaming trading company, secured $150 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

The company says it is now valued at $750 million. In 2021, Firework raised $55 million to value it at $230 million. Firework has now received over $235 million in funding since its founding in 2017 by co-founders Vincent Yang and Jerry Luk.

“We chose Softbank Investment Advisers because of their shared vision,” Luk said in a statement. “We have big ambitions at Firework – to become the infrastructure on which the next generation of the Internet is built and managed – and Softbank Investment Advisers supports that vision.”

Firework provides video commerce and live streaming capabilities for retailers, consumer brands, and publishers who want to leverage their own customer data to create engaging video experiences on their own digital properties and social channels.

Last year, Firework worked with some 600 companies, including Albertsons Companies, The Fresh Market and Omnicom Media Group. Last October, Albertsons was the first US grocer to use Firework’s platform to create, host and curate its own short, live video for Albertsons brand websites and app to improve engagement. client.

The new funding comes as live trading continues to grow in adoption. Live commerce is still most popular in China, where sales are expected to reach $423 billion in 2022. This compares to the US live commerce market, which is expected to reach $35 billion in sales by 2024.

The Firework co-founders say there are plenty of opportunities to seize in a North American market where live commerce accounts for just 0.1% of overall online sales, or less than $6 billion. Other companies think so too. Startups like Upmesh and Drip are also attracting some of those venture capital dollars, most recently Drip raised $28.5 million for its buy-in-direct approach. The industry is also dominated by Whatnot and Popshop.

Firework’s new round is a chance to grab more of that market share and invest in its technology and product development, especially with a shift to Web 3.0. As a result, the company will increase its workforce in the areas of engineering, product and marketing.

As part of the investment, Linda Yu, a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, has joined Firework’s board.

“Short videos and live streaming are now the default language of the digital age, which is reshaping the way consumers interact with brands and products online,” Yu said in a statement. “We believe Firework empowers businesses to use video to turn their websites into social and storytelling hubs so they can build deeper, long-term relationships with customers. Vincent and Jerry have assembled an impressive team in digital commerce and we are thrilled to partner with them to create a next-generation customer experience.”

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