Marxent, a St. Petersburg company that specializes in 3D commerce platforms for home-goods retailers like Macy’s, Lowe’s, Ashley HomeStore and La-Z-Boy, has closed a Series C round of financing led by Arnie Bellini, the founder and former CEO of Tampa-based IT solutions firm ConnectWise.
Other investors include Lee Arnold, executive chairman of Colliers International Florida, as well as Ed Woiteshek, a member of Marxent’s board of directors. Marxent co-founder and CEO Beck Besecker declined to specify the amount of the investment, but said it’s “meaningful.”
As part of the terms of the investment, Bellini will have a seat on Marxent’s board but Besecker and his brother Barry, with whom he teamed up to found the company in 2012, will remain the majority owners. Besecker expects Bellini to play an active role in helping the fast-growing company build out its organizational structure and long-term business strategy as it looks to expand.
“He’s been there, done that, seen it all,” Besecker said of Bellini, who sold ConnectWise in 2019 to private equity firm Thoma Bravo — a lucrative deal that turned 70 stock-owning employees into millionaires. “He’s like, ‘Are you guys thinking about security and privacy and internationalization — all those things you need to grow and mature?’
“We’ve done a lot of that already,” Besecker added, “but he’s able to say, ‘Guys, look, in three years, this is where you’re going to need to be. What’s the plan to get there?’ It’s great to be accountable to somebody that, you know, can really help you. “When you take on an investment like this, you have a huge sense of responsibility to your investors and your employees.”
Marxent’s 3D Cloud Platform allows consumers to virtually design bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, offices and even outdoor spaces using furniture and decor that they can purchase from a retailer like Macy’s. It’s been a big hit, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, which Bellini, in a statement, said “further accelerated the demand for virtual selling of home goods … Marxent is the recognized technology leader in the space.”
It would be an understatement to say that Bellini has great expectations for Marxent.
“Marxent’s 3D commerce platform will transform both the customer experience and underlying ecosystem like Netflix and Tesla did for their categories,” he stated. “With a blue-chip client base, proven ROI, millions of buyable SKUs and hundreds of millions in 3D-enabled sales, Marxent’s 3D Cloud is the virtual selling platform of choice for high-value, configurable products for the home.”
Marxent’s success has allowed it to expand overseas: It has offices in the United Kingdom and France and has secured deals with European companies such as John Lewis and Partners and Kingfisher plc. Leigh Davidson, Marxent Europe’s managing director, stated in a news release that the Series C round of investment will be used to grow the firm’s presence even more in Europe and other markets.
“This investment enables us to further support the now permanent priority of e-commerce and the role of new hybrid stores,” Davidson said. “Getting stuck in slow and confusing tools is no fun for consumers. Our inspirational 3D planners are enabling users to quickly design from photos and confidently add entire rooms to [their shopping] basket.”
Besecker said the funds will also help the company expand into other verticals — such as real estate and homebuilding — that could benefit from Marxent’s 3D commerce technology.
“We may go into other categories beyond the home at some point,” he said. “I mean, there’s no reason why our system can’t be used for fashion. But right now we’re going to just keep a concentric circle around the home category.”
Marxent, Besecker added, was already in hiring mode before the latest investment and will ramp up its recruitment efforts in 2021. He expects to hire between 20 and 30 people this year and even more than that in 2022. He’s particularly interested in hearing from software engineers and web developers. Open positions can be viewed at the company’s website.