Omnichannel retail software startup Awayco bags $11m to capitalise on global momentum

Omnichannel retail software startup Awayco bags $11m to capitalise on global momentum

Awayco founder and executive director Gideon Gut-Silverman

Sydney-based e-commerce company Awayco, whose software was piloted by global outdoor sportswear group Patagonia, has raised $11 million to capitalise on its growing momentum in the retail sector.

Awayco, which provides software that unifies instore and online operations, plans to expand its Australian team and grow its offering following the raise which was led by Thorney Investment Group and high-net-worth investors.

The company, which was founded by Gideon Gut-Silverman in 2018 as a rental software business focused on the circular economy, was forced to take a new course during the pandemic - a move that the company says has since garnered the attention of hundreds of retailers around the world.

“Like many other businesses, COVID forced us to reconsider our strategy,” says Gut-Silverman, who is also executive director of venture capital and advisory firm Happenco.

“Through discussions with retailers we recognised that store closures were making consumers think differently about e-commerce. Having served the rental market, we saw that it wasn’t a big leap to offer a unified solution that addressed the bigger picture of what the modern consumer wants.”

Awayco says retailers face challenges ‘connecting and unifying physical and digital e-commerce channels, which can lead to fragmented experiences for consumers and a costly tech stack for retailers’. 
“We learned it was important that our solution worked within a retailer’s existing enterprise resource planning and POS (point of sale) system, so that our customers didn’t have to undertake massive capex before we showed value,” Gut-Silverman says.

“We’re working with our retailer customers to consolidate and manage inventory, aggregate data, and unify transactions across any platform and channel, so they can offer innovative experiences based on consumer demand, and we are hopeful that many more will benefit from Awayco’s tech.”

After piloting its software with a group of retailers, including US-based Patagonia, a company founded by environmentalist and philanthropist Yvon Chouinard, Awayco has grown its client base to hundreds of retailers including PETstock, Star Discount Pharmacy, Cheap as Chips and Firewire Surfboards.

PETstock, which is majority owned by Woolworths (ASX: WOW) following a $586 million acquisition last year, operates more than 140 stores in Australia and New Zealand. Awayco says it helps PETstock consolidate and manage inventory, customers, transactions and products seamlessly across the group’s physical and online stores, providing capacity for the group to ‘expand and innovate at scale and speed’.

Tom Kurlis, an advisory board member at Awayco and a former CEO of Godfreys Group, describes the solution this way: “Awayco’s offering is unique in that it has the ability to join the dots and provide solutions for all e-commerce problems that retailers are all too familiar with.”

Awayco has expanded its capacity to assist large retailers following the acquisition of Barcode Solutions, an Australian POS led by Shanti Kumar.

Kumar is staying on following the acquisition a CEO of POSConnex, the group’s unified e-commerce solution.

Thorney Investment Group chairman Alex Waislitz says the decision to top up its investment in Awayco was based on the take-up of the software by major retailers.

“Awayco has made very good progress as a business, building out its technology solution and winning business from quality retailers,” Waislitz says.

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