Leap Raises $3M for Smart Retail
Leap today announced the launch of its platform to enable digital brands to rapidly launch high impact experiential retail stores more quickly and without taking on the typical risks of physical store development themselves. Leap does this as they announce their first store opening in Chicago, for Koio, and the support of $3 million in Seed funding, led by Costanoa Ventures with the participation of Equal Ventures and Brand Foundry Ventures.
According to the ICSC 2018 survey, opening a new physical store for emerging brands results in an average 45% increase in overall traffic to that brand’s website after a store opening. Retail stores also tend to have higher average sales per customer and fewer returns, leading to digital native brands like Warby Parker, Casper, and Bonobos and others scaling their store footprints dramatically. But the high costs and risks of leasing, staffing, and store management have kept the opportunity out of reach for many brands – until now.
Leap enabled Koio to launch its Chicago brick-and-mortar store in a matter of weeks. For Koio, the Leap platform is making expansion of its store footprint completely turnkey by removing the need for the brand to lease, build-out, staff, implement technology and manage day-to-day operations for every store location.
Chris Wichert, Co-Founder of Koio shared, “Working with Leap will enable us to grow our retail footprint more quickly and efficiently. We’re excited to partner on our first location in Chicago, with plans to grow into more markets like San Francisco, Miami and many more over the next couple of years. I am confident that Leap will execute on our brand mission seamlessly.”
“Brands that have physical stores perform better when it comes to local brand awareness, customer engagement, and overall sales,” said Amish Tolia, Co-CEO of Leap. “A modern growth strategy has to include a smart retail presence.”
Leap makes deployment of high impact retail brand experiences easy for brands by seamlessly integrating:
- Brand experience – Design featuring compelling brand experiences that engages customers and drives local word of mouth.
- Omni-channel customer service – Mobile checkout, virtual in-store shopping, and the ability to buy online and return in any Leap store, regardless of brand.
- Data-driven operations – Agile store management enabled by rich brand, product and customer insights and intelligent logistics.
- Rapid expansion – Open new stores as quickly as brands can ship product.
“Our technology, and the network effects of our growing footprint, will create meaningful cost efficiencies and sales lift for brands, and, most importantly, provide customers with a tangible experience that deepens brand engagement and accelerates growth through local word of mouth,” said Jared Golden, Leap Co-CEO.
“Today’s consumers expect true omni-channel service and want direct accessibility with the products they love. This presents a major opportunity for brands to build deep customer connections and consistent brand interaction. For the first time, digitally native brands can roll out a flagship location to hundreds of storefronts at scale. That is why we’re thrilled to partner with Leap as they build their tech-enabled retail platform that operationalizes best-in-class retail practices,” said Farooq Abbasi of Costanoa Ventures.
Leap is building the retail-as-a-service platform of choice for emerging brands. The platform includes all aspects of store development and operations, including physical space, staffing, and managing all technology infrastructure which helps next generation consumer brands grow faster and deepen their customer brand experience. This omnichannel, tech-enabled approach is accelerating the transformation of the retail sector. For more information, please visit https://leapinc.co/.