Firework Closes $150M SoftBank Vision Fund 2-Led Series B to Continue to Build the Future of Commerce
Livestreaming commerce leader receives major leg-up in bid to redefine customer experience and engagement for Web 3.0
The announcement comes as public sentiment towards Big Tech’s “walled-gardens” – the large, closed ecosystems typified by the likes of Facebook and Amazon – grows increasingly strained. Facebook parent company Meta’s recent announcement that it will charge a 47.5% fee on all transactions on its Horizon Worlds metaverse app was the most recent flashpoint to emerge from the debate around Internet centralization.
With the newly acquired funds, Firework aims to accelerate growth across a variety of metrics in pursuit of a bold, long-term vision to reshape the digital landscape with its decentralized infrastructure on which organizations can engage and transact with customers and audiences on their own properties and terms. In the near term, the company aims to increase talent acquisition in engineering, product and marketing, and deliver several enhancements to its overall platform.
“With this investment, our growth engine is firing on all cylinders,” said Firework Co-Founder and CEO Vincent Yang. “Our core technology and business model have already been proven in the market many times over, and with this capital to realize our vision, Firework can now focus most of our efforts on evolution and growth, in all its forms – growing our team, growing our user base, and growing our technology, to ensure the Firework platform never loses step with the bleeding edge of next-generation customer experience.”
Success Begets Success
The outcome of Firework’s Series B funding round can be attributed in large part to a litany of successes stretching back to Q1 2021. With multiple blockbuster customer and partner acquisitions — such as Albertsons Companies, The Fresh Market, and Omnicom Media Group — a strategic investment partnership with American Express Ventures, and numerous high-profile leadership hires, Firework has emerged as the clear frontrunner in the race to lead North America’s still-nascent livestream commerce market.
In China, livestream commerce generated over $300 billion in sales in 2021, representing approximately 12% of overall retail ecommerce sales, and is expected to reach nearly 20% in 2023. The North American market, on the other hand, clocked in at less than $6 billion, representing just 0.1% of overall online sales. The immensity of the opportunity therein wasn’t lost on Firework’s co-founders, Vincent Yang and Jerry Luk, when they launched the company in 2017. Nor has it gone unnoticed by investors. Firework has raised over $235 million in funding to date.
But Vision Determines Its Value
“Short videos and livestreaming are now the default language for the digital era, which is reshaping how consumers engage with brands and products online,” said Linda Yu, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We believe Firework empowers businesses to use video to transform 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 the digital commerce space and we’re thrilled to partner with them to build a next generation customer experience.”
As part of the transaction, Linda Yu has joined Firework’s Board of Directors.
“We chose to work with SoftBank Investment Advisers for a multitude of reasons, from their unparalleled domain expertise in the ecommerce space to their extensive network,” said Firework Co-Founder and President Jerry Luk. “But above all else, we chose Softbank Investment Advisers because of their shared vision. We have big ambitions at Firework — to become the infrastructure on which the next-generation of the internet is built and run — and Softbank Investment Advisers supports that vision.”
Firework is the global leader in humanizing the open web through the language of video. Leveraging shoppable video, live streaming commerce and powerful monetization capabilities, Firework empowers the world’s most dynamic and exciting retailers, consumer brands, and publishers to build engaging video experiences on their owned and operated digital properties and across channels at a global scale. Firework enables organizations to bring new levels of authenticity and connection to online video experiences, speaking to digital natives in the language they understand fully—and taking control of their own customer data. The company has raised over $235 million in capital to date. To learn more, please visit firework.com.