Indian e-commerce startup Mason has global ambition: to relieve retailers of the ‘Amazon tax’
Indian startup Mason, which promises to create an alternative destination to Amazon for online shoppers – without the fees – has just raised US$7.5 million in seed funding.
Mason was founded by Barada Sahu and Kausambi Manjita who spent decades working on e-commerce platforms including Myntra, Flipkart, Walmart, Paytm (an Alibaba company). Having met at Myntra, Walmart’s Asian fashion store, their goal now is to provide retailers and consumers with “a high-performance Amazon-grade sales engine to a brand’s own store. “It reduces the onus on online brands to rely on Amazon and relieves them of the ‘Amazon tax’,” the pair said in a statement.
“Most brands are left with no option but to sell at marketplaces like Amazon and pay 35c for every dollar simply because running a profitable standalone D2C store is just too hard,” says Manjita. “With access to their own growth engine like Mason, brands can actually transform their D2C storefront into their most profitable channel, getting 50 per cent uplift in their margins from day one. By democratising access to a complex tech stack, from data-driven merchandising, to sales automation, to personalisation – the team is helping more entrepreneurs stay independent, become profitable, and not sell out to a Thrasio.”
Sahu says that traditionally, only big retailers have had the technology muscle to implement complex infrastructure while the rest of the market has been left stitching together fragmented solutions that simply do not work well with each other.
“Mason simplifies this with an all-in-one no-code solution that powers marketers, product managers and founders to upgrade their stores from storytelling to selling from day one. Paying an upfront cost for a large headless implementation or a sophisticated merchandising engine is beyond what most brands can work on. For small and medium businesses an all-in-one solution with a commission-based model is easier to understand.”
After two years in operation, Mason has already enlisted more than 1000 customers selling 8000 brands worldwide, using a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Companies using the platform already come from fashion and apparel, beauty and grooming, health and fitness and food and beverage.
The founders say a typical store improves average order value by 23 per cent in 30 days, improves session time by 17 per cent and improves sell-through by 35 per cent in 60 days.
The Mason team is out to empower retailers to earn a greater share of the global e-commerce market, estimated to be worth US$8.1 trillion in sales by 2026.
Adds Manjita: “Commerce is about selling, not storing. The previous generation of commerce has helped brands set up their stores online and have great systems for storing business information. What brands now need is a technology layer that helps convert this information in action. We are building the world’s first commerce engine. We will be doubling our investment into category-specific AI-based playbooks to help brands grow simply.”
The seed funding round was led by Accel and Ideaspring Capital with participation from Lightspeed India Partners as well as Mana VC, Gaingels, Core91 and VH Capital.