As we’ve covered before, the rise of ecommerce has been one of the most notable successes of COVID-19. The sector has leaped years ahead in value in just a few months thanks to the large shift to online shopping and online storefronts driven by lockdowns worldwide. Many of our previous highlighted startups have been in the fintech and ecommerce spaces, but few have grown as quickly and have as much potential as the company we’ve chosen for this week.
Fast ($PRIVATE:FAST), a service that allows online shoppers to check out and make purchases with a single click of a button, is our Breakout Startup of the Week. Founded in March 2019 by Allison Barr Allen and CEO Dom Holland, Fast has already raised $22.5 million in seed and Series A funding rounds, and launched as recently as September 2nd with over 100 vendors and thousands more on the way.
In an interview on This Week In Startups, Holland explained exactly how Fast works. When you see a Fast checkout button, view clicking on it as a portal into Fast’s servers. It will instantly access your payment, shipping and communications information without you having to log in, remember an email, password, or even have a debit card on hand. Fast works as the intermediary between you the consumer and the vendor, making the process seamless. Gone are the days of not being able to pay because you forgot a password or forgot where you put your wallet.
Fast has an incredibly unique approach to attracting customers. You, the user, will never once pay for using a Fast checkout or storing your information with them; Fast makes money by charging the company you’re purchasing from a fee for each transaction. But even though Fast never makes a cent from the end user, that’s who it markets and designs itself for. The end user is what drives Fast’s entire business, and by being as appealing and seamless as possible for them, they can draw attention from companies.
What makes Fast so interesting compared to other ecommerce startups is two things: the massive market waiting to welcome it, and a business model that means growth will only beget more growth.
The more websites there are that have the Fast button, the more websites there are that will want the Fast button. Users will get used to the frictionless process of checking out with a single click and begin to demand it on all their sites, and companies will be forced to adopt Fast if they want customers to get an ideal shopping experience. Businesses are also always looking for ways to reduce the amount of time between an item being in a shopper’s cart and an item being purchased, and Fast is the best possible solution to the problem. The entire marketplace of online shopping is there, waiting with open doors for Fast to walk in. If you sell a product online, Fast wants to be on your website. And eventually, your customers will want it to be there too.
In just over a year of existence, Fast has grown astronomically to a headcount of 56 employees and will inevitably keep growing, as evidenced by the fact that CEO Dom Holland has put out a call for engineers on Twitter as recently as Friday
These are not 5 input boxes.— domm (@domm) September 11, 2020
They are 5 independent, and intelligent applications designed and engineered to be the fastest, easiest way to collect data.
If you want to push the boundaries to design/engineer these, and already build products for millions of people, DM me. pic.twitter.com/RZfOjhXKqD
In fact, Holland has said the company worked very hard to specifically build a team of highly experienced and talented engineers - that’s why he came all the way to San Francisco from Australia. For those looking to join a business on the ground floor that will not just rise to the top, but possibly sit on the throne of the entire industry, your time is running short. Fast is growing just as fast as the breakneck speeds of the industry at large, and your last moment to pounce on the ground floor may be disappearing.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.