Checking in with how we check out — why I'm more excited about nate than ever

Announcing nate's Seed and Series A round ($51M)

What if you never had to waste your time with mindless tasks again? No more entering your shipping address. No more trying to remember your frequent flyer number. No more scrolling through your screenshots to find the sweater you wanted to buy that one time last Fall? Shouldn’t machines do all that boring stuff? That was the question Albert Saniger, the CEO of nate, posed to me when we first met two years ago. Why couldn’t you buy anything on the web with the tap of a button? 

At Canaan, we like to say that we’re in the business of steep — not incremental — progress. It’s an instinct for reimagining and reinventing the ways we go about our everyday lives. As soon as I met Albert, I recognized that he had a vision that was this steep with a product to back it up. nate is a universal shopping tool able to transact online without human intervention. But more importantly, nate offers the first true alternative I’ve seen to the cumbersome and tab-heavy slog that online shopping often feels like. With nate, you really can buy anything on the web with the tap of a button. 

Inspired by the vastness of this product vision, I co-led nate’s seed round and joined the Board of Directors, where I’ve witnessed Albert and the team go from beta to super app, complete with gifting, discounts, list building, and Pay Later functionalities. That progress is just one of many reasons why we are so excited to double down on our investment in nate as they announce a $38M Series A financing today led by Renegade Partners. This round marks yet another step towards nate’s building an ecommerce paradigm where consumers have the power to shop however, wherever, and whenever they please. 

It was clear even before the pandemic, when we first invested in nate, that much about shopping on mobile was broken. Why? Well, about half of online purchases are initiated in one site and paid for in another. Whether you’re inspired by a newsletter, a TikTok, or a Twitch stream, the process of switching apps, scrolling on the mobile web, and executing a purchase remains quite clunky. And let’s be honest: no one likes checking out with a tiny keyboard. That’s exactly why 2020 US mobile ecommerce conversion rates are desktop conversion rates, even though the majority of web traffic is mobile. Our phones are often where we spend our time, but much less often where we spend our dollars. 

Early on, Albert understood that the only way to bring mobile shopping to par was by building a product, which was not only utilitarian but also fun. Leveraging metadata across the 2.1M US ecommerce sites as well as advances in deep neural networks, nate enables shoppers to take action directly at their point of inspiration without ever opening another app. Put another way: no more checkouts. Anywhere. nate also brought out the social side of shopping that was so missing from mobile ecommerce. Via lists and gifting, friends could curate their own gift guides to share far and wide then send surprises with a simple text message. Trust me your friends will thank you. In fact, to celebrate this announcement, the Canaan consumer team has made its very own list to inspire your own shopping adventures.

As stay-at-home orders unlocked significant ecommerce adoption (we’ve all seen the graph), it quickly became clear that nate was more than a universal shopping solution. Only last month, the company launched a Pay Later solution, empowering shoppers to split purchases from any site in four easy installments within the same one-tap checkout. Coming soon, creators will be able to monetize their lists on nate across any purchase their followers make from the list. From one-tap checkout to lists to gifts to Pay Later, nate is truly the only universal shopping app.

Finally, it’s important to highlight that Albert is not only the visionary behind this product but also the author of the company’s secret sauce: its culture. He walks the walk, implementing nate’s five values across everything from hiring to team collaboration to DEI. With over 50 humans now at nate, it’s no surprise that Albert’s people-centric approach to work, life, and everything in between has resulted in such a special company.