Retail technology platform Flagship has announced that it has secured $2 million through its seed funding round, which will see the Sydney-based start-up continue to harness the power of data and cutting-edge technology to revolutionise the retail world and globalise digital innovation within traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

The infusion of capital through the round, led by Sydney-based seed-stage venture capital firm Tidal Ventures, will go towards building up Flagship’s world-class engineering and product teams, in order to pave the way for new data-driven insights to transform retail operations.

Additionally, the funding will fuel expansion efforts in Australia, the US, and beyond.

Flagship previously spoke with SmartCompany in 2022 about plans to bring brick-and-mortar retail into the digital world by helping in-person stores access the same data, insights and recommendations that e-commerce players can, such as product views, conversion rates, and inventory levels.

Founder Simon Molnar, whose brother is fintech startup Afterpay co-founder and co-CEO Nick Molnar, said his vision was for Flagship to become the indispensable backbone of retail operations, fostering data-driven decisions and transformation across all stores. 

“This recent round of funding means we can build the right products to enhance, uplift, and enrich the operations and bottom line for retailers,” he said.

“One of the first pieces of advice Ant Eisen (Afterpay co-founder and co-CEO) gave me when I started Flagship was that ‘in order to win, you have to exist’. I feel excited about what we can do with the funding to grow the team and the product now that we have secured our existence.

“There are two immediate uses of the funds — the first is to grow our engineering and product teams to ensure we build the robustness into the solution that we need and to ensure continued product market fit. 

“The second immediate is our US expansion, which will involve making our first US hire to help us break into the market.

“We’ve always said that we are ‘retailer first’ and the additional product team members will mean we can continue to speak to and learn from retailers to make sure they get the most out of the existing product but also make sure we are continuing to innovate and expand our solution in ways that our retailers can guide.”

Flagship’s inaugural product, an end-to-end visual merchandising platform, streamlines and optimises the placement of products throughout a retailer’s store network, creating efficiencies and providing access to never-before-seen data.

Molnar said products like the visual merchandising platform were hugely vital when it comes to retailers and reshaping the industry.

“The retail environment is challenging at the moment, so any solution that can give retailers incremental efficiencies means they can reallocate human hours to other areas of the business that need it more, rather than being spent going back and forth between stores,” he said. 

“Now, more than ever, extra visibility, time savings, and the ability to make data-driven decisions to drive revenue uplift are critical in any retail-focused platform.”

Tidal Ventures partner Georgie Turner said the investor was excited to lead Flagship’s seed round.

“Over the past six months working with Flagship, we’ve witnessed Simon’s remarkable product vision and seen the impressive execution from his small but mighty team,” she said. 

“Brimming with the necessary vigour, focus, and expertise, they’re poised to revolutionise retail operations amidst today’s consumer uncertainty. 

“Flagship’s ingenious approach involves harnessing untapped store data and cutting-edge AI to optimise retail operations like visual merchandising, fostering synergy between retail’s online and offline realms through a unified, innovative operating system.”

Flagship’s customer list includes retail brands Venroy, LSKD, Calibre, Aje Athletica, and SIR.

Molnar said Flagship already has the wheels in motion to launch into the US market. 

“The US is the first market we’re venturing into outside of Australia. We’ve seen that the challenges surrounding visual merchandising exist in the US just as much as they do here, so we’ll look to expand into the market as soon as possible,” he said.