SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Volition on Monday announced an $11 million seed round led by Newark Venture Partners and Quiet Capital with major participation from Lachy Groom, Alan Rutledge, Julian Capital and Humba (Susa) Ventures.
Volition is the first and only online industrial parts marketplace designed specifically for the needs of the hardware development world. It aims to accelerate the pace of hardware innovation by serving as the hub that organizes all of the world’s components.
"Volition is the first marketplace for the $2 trillion industrial components industry that helps engineering and purchasing teams find and buy all of the parts they need to prototype and manufacture their designs," said Nick Pinkston, co-founder and CEO of Volition. “My co-founders and I previously ran Plethora, a custom manufacturing company, and we spent far too much time just searching for the right parts to build our factory and our customers’ products. To solve for that, we built the world’s largest catalog of these components — 16 million products and growing — by partnering with industrial distributors and using our uniquely scalable data technology to quickly list products for sale."
The industrial distribution world has not kept pace with the broader e-commerce revolution, and this is even more acutely true for the 400,000 small and niche suppliers in the space. These teams are without the resources to build a sophisticated online store tailored to their customers’ specific technical needs, especially the massive cost required to create large catalogs of such highly complex products. Meanwhile, their customers are using phones and email to find and source the components they are looking for, a huge waste of time and money.
Now, these customers can use Volition to search across the largest collection of products ever assembled, and then filter down to just the products that meet their exact specifications. This is the first time this has ever been possible because generic marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba are unable to make sense of the vast array of structured product data required to produce this user experience.
To do this, Volition invented a new kind of product data engine able to upload and standardize a massive amount of supplier product content at a scale never before achieved. This system uses automation and AI to empower human experts to create a high quality catalog at scale. By solving this problem, Volition is able to organize the entirety of this industry’s products and make them searchable and purchasable in one place.
The company already boasts many customers from the Fortune 500 and beyond who collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on these components. It has also signed a wide range of distributors, who already sell billions of dollars of these products, to list their full catalogs on their platform. This new funding allows them to further scale their marketplace, as well as build out new features that let customers improve their sourcing while increasing retention dramatically.
"We are in a critical moment for B2B commerce, where consumer trends are spilling over - and managers, as well as C-suite leadership, are looking for ways to modernize, simplify and create efficiencies around how they buy and sell products," said Tom Wisniewski, managing partner at NVP. "B2B marketplaces like Volition — which serves a specific vertical with a set of tools that lower the barrier of entry for low-tech teams are positioned for easy adoption and fast growth. We believe that Nick and the Volition team have the perfect mix of startup grind and industry expertise to make real waves in the industrial components market with this model."
READ MORE: New Hub 'Organizes the World's Components'