Retail app maker Tulip raises $40 million from Kleiner Perkins, others

(Reuters) - Canada’s Tulip Retail, which makes an app for retailers, said on Tuesday it raised $40 million in a funding round led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The Series B funding, which included existing investors such as Jump Capital, gives Kleiner Perkins’ general partner, Mood Rowghani, a seat on the startup’s five-member board.

Tulip’s app helps retailers tailor in-store experiences by giving store employees faster access to realtime inventory and price comparison data among other things.

The Toronto-based company, which was founded in 2013, counts retail chains, including Hudson’s Bay Co’s Saks Fifth Avenue, Toys “R” Us, and Coach and its Kate Spade unit among its major customers.

Tulip said it was seeing rising demand in Europe, South America and Asia, and planned to open offices in these markets.

“The main thing that we’ve been delaying at Tulip that now we can accelerate is our international growth,” Tulip Chief Executive Ali Asaria told Reuters.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to ramp up their online presence and make their stores more relevant, especially in the wake of tough competition from e-commerce giant Inc.

“For the first time, very large retailers, who are traditionally very slow at changing, are adopting new technology and new modes of selling in a way that we’ve never seen before,” Asaria said. “And we are a big part of that.”

Asaria said the company is profitable, with sales having quadrupled over the last year and set to double annually in the next few years.

Retailers have been snapping up technology companies as they look to better utilize customer data and improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. Target Corp said this month it will buy Grand Junction, a software company that manages local and same-day deliveries..

However, Asaria said the latest funding round makes it clear that his company is “not available for purchase” and that he plans to take it public in five to six years.

Kleiner Perkins, which has stakes in Uber and Snapchat, has also invested in other retail-related startups, including men’s casual shirts retailer UNTUCKit and online-grocery delivery service Instacart.

Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva