b8ta is a retail-as-a-service company with a chain of 9 standalone retail stores, which serve as presentation centers for consumer electronics and home goods. The company was founded in 2015 by Vibhu Norby, William Mintun, Phillip Raub, and Nicholas Mann.[5] Its first location opened in Palo Alto in December 2015.[6] Companies can pay to rent out space for their product to be displayed inside the locations, along with a tablet that each brand customizes with software.[7] All of the products in stores are on display out-of-the-box and can be touched and demoed. The company also sells the products directly to consumers. Store employees, which the company calls "b8ta testers", assist customers with demos and product information which is taught to them by companies with products on display. In November 2019, b8ta opened a fashion store named Forum in West Hollywood with the same business model.[8]

b8ta, inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
FoundedDecember 2015; 5 years ago (2015-12)
FoundersVibhu Norby[1]
William Mintun[2]
Phillip Raub[3]
Nicholas Mann[4]
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, United States
Number of locations
Standalone: 22
Forum: 1
Websiteb8ta.com

ArkEdit

Ark (previously known as Built by b8ta) provides businesses with a platform to open physical showrooms for their products.[9] The most prevalent is a 70 location store within a store concept with Lowe's. These areas operate under the SmartSpot banner and allow customers to interact with smart home products.[10] Macy's Herald Square is also home to a pop-up space equipped with Ark's technology. In 2019, Tru Kids, the trademark holder of Toys "R" Us in the United States began using the Ark platform for its physical locations.[11]

FundingEdit

In September 2016, b8ta raised a $7 million Series A round of funding.[12] In June 2018, b8ta closed a $19 million Series B round led by Macy's, with participation from Sound Ventures, Palm Drive Capital, Capitaland, Graphene Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Plug and Play Ventures. The round brought b8ta's total funding to $39 million.[13]

Macy's acquired a minority share in b8ta during June 2018.[14][15]

In October 2019, b8ta raised a $50 million series C led by Evolution Ventures, with previous investors Macy's, Khosla Ventures, and others participating.

DesignEdit

The common area environment design strategy was built and executed by the design firm Mint. It started with two over-sized archways that invited consumers in, as well as double sided merchandise cabinets where customers can experience the products on the inside as well as the perimeter of the store.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Findling, Deborah (1 October 2017). "b8ta, a tech retailer, wants to get consumers excited about retail by letting them try gadgets before they buy". CNBC. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  2. ^ Findling, Deborah (1 October 2017). "b8ta, a tech retailer, wants to get consumers excited about retail by letting them try gadgets before they buy". CNBC. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  3. ^ Findling, Deborah (1 October 2017). "b8ta, a tech retailer, wants to get consumers excited about retail by letting them try gadgets before they buy". CNBC. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  4. ^ Findling, Deborah (1 October 2017). "b8ta, a tech retailer, wants to get consumers excited about retail by letting them try gadgets before they buy". CNBC. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  5. ^ Findling, Deborah (1 October 2017). "b8ta, a tech retailer, wants to get consumers excited about retail by letting them try gadgets before they buy". CNBC. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  6. ^ McDowell, Maghan (22 September 2017). "B8ta makes "early adopters" out of everyone". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  7. ^ Halzack, Sarah (17 December 2015). "B8ta, the new gadget store that is a bet by a Silicon Valley company on brick-and-mortar shopping". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  8. ^ Alcántara, Ann-Marie (17 October 2019). "B8ta Is Moving Beyond Consumer Electronics and Entering Fashion and Lifestyle". Adweek. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  9. ^ Keyes, Daniel (12 April 2018). "This startup just launched a new platform to help digital-focused brands build an in-store presence". Business Insider. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  10. ^ Hulfish, Garrett (10 November 2017). "Lowe's seeks to educate customers about smart home products with new mini stores". Digital Trends. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  11. ^ Barkho, Gabriela (19 July 2019). "Toys 'R' Us Will Relaunch With Gen Z-Friendly 'Interactive' Stores". The New York Observer. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  12. ^ Rose Dickey, Megan (28 September 2016). "b8ta, a physical store for tech gadgets, raises $7 million Series A round". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  13. ^ Rose Dickey, Megan (26 June 2018). "b8ta raises $19 million Series B led by Macy's". TechCrunch. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Macy's invests in tech startup b8ta". USA Today. 13 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Macy's Continues In-Store Innovation Using b8ta to Enhance and Scale The Market @ Macy's Experiential Retail Concept". Macy's, Inc. Retrieved 2020-08-11.

See alsoEdit