Curate, the Modern Sales and Operations Platform for Creative Small Businesses, Raises $1.25 Million From Square Co-Founder Jim McKelvey, OCA Ventures, and Others
Curate the modern sales and operations platform for florists, caterers, and other creative small businesses, today announced a $1.25 million seed round. The round was led by Chicago-based OCA Ventures, with participation by Square co-founder Jim McKelvey, Cultivation Capital, and Stout Street Capital.
The funding is a major milestone for Curate and follows an intense year during which it helped small businesses navigate Covid-19-related sales and operations challenges, from cancelled events to profound supply chain disruptions. And now, as the economy emerges from Covid-19 restrictions, Curate is seeing explosive demand, with April 2021 revenues up 700x over the year prior.
Curate makes it easy for small businesses to instantly create beautiful proposals, process payments, manage complicated supply chains, and optimize communication with customers and suppliers, saving time and maximizing profitability.
The company was founded by Ryan O’Neil, who owned a St. Louis floral business with his wife. Originally launched as a platform to help florists grow profitable businesses, Curate now also serves catering businesses and plans to be the premier sales and operations platform for all creative-driven small businesses. Since its founding, Curate has processed over $300 million in payments.
“We expect a massive economic boom for the events industry as people emerge from the pandemic, but small businesses will need the right technology to capitalize on the demand,” said O’Neil. “From struggling to keep up with a flood of new business opportunities to navigating an unpredictable supply chain, they’ll need tools to speed sales and streamline operations, and this is exactly what Curate was made for. With this funding round, we are perfectly positioned to help our customers grow rapidly and profitably.”
Curate offers the following capabilities to small businesses:
- Instantly create eye-catching proposals with drag and drop tools that can turn a customer’s Pinterest inspiration into a customized work of art.
- Manage customer payments and communications via a built-in CRM.
- Process customer event orders and daily orders in one place.
- Track supply costs and quantities to know the exact profit margin of every custom order before contracts are signed.
- Integrate custom orders with wholesaler purchasing for zero waste.
- Instantly sync data across systems for a clearer view of project requirements, profits, margins, and expenses for the entire business.
Curate offers seamless integration with popular tools like Square, QuickBooks, Stripe, Xero, Nowsta, Google Calendar, and more, allowing business owners to optimize their workflow all in a single platform.
“Ryan and the Curate team really stepped up over the past year to serve their customers when they were needed the most,” said Tamin Abdul Majid, General Partner at OCA Ventures. “The events industry had an especially trying year, and the fact that Curate helped so many small businesses find success shows the power of the platform and the strength of the team. We are excited to partner with them as they help even more small businesses create amazing – and profitable – experiences for their customers.”
Curate expects to double its employee count from 16 to 32, with a focus on investing in infrastructure and product development.