Some big changes are happening at Yottaa, a web and mobile optimization software company that moved its headquarters from Boston to Waltham in 2015 and had some layoffs early this year.
With an Endeca veteran as its new CEO and a tightened focus on ecommerce, the seven-year-old company announced on Tuesday it has raised a $13 million financing round led by Stata Venture Partners, the firm founded by Analog Devices co-founder Ray Stata. General Catalyst, another previous investor, also participated in the round.
To help the company with it new ecommerce focus, Yottaa earlier this year hired Rich Stendardo, a local tech executive with years of ecommerce experience, as its new CEO. Stenardo was most recently at Boston tech companies DataRobot and DataXu as a vice president, but his clout in ecommerce came from his nearly eight-year tenure at Endeca, a Cambridge-based ecommerce software company that was sold to Oracle in 2011. He was a product manager at Amazon and GE before then.
Stendardo replaces Vick Viren Vaishnavi, the company’s previous CEO who started in fall 2014 and departed earlier this year. Stendardo declined to comment on the nature of Vaishnavi’s departure, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate.
The new round will let Yottaa expand in its new configuration as an “ecommerce acceleration” company that helps increase the speed and engagement of more than 700 mobile and web ecommerce websites, including sites run by Hallmark, Crayola and Moosejaw. The company has helped some customers increase web page load speeds by as much as 40-60 percent.
Yottaa previously provided web and mobile optimization services for other industries, including publishing, but the company decided to go all in on ecommerce this year because of what it views as a massive opportunity. Researchers would agree: According to a 2015 study by Forrester, the ecommerce market is expected to grow to $480 billion in online sales by 2019.
“The way an ecommerce site works has changed over the last five years,” Stendardo told BostInno. “If you look at the expectations shoppers have, you have three seconds to engage them, then they start to leave.”
One of the major challenges ecommerce sites have in delivering fast experiences is the growing number of web services they use to provide features like live chat, personalization and third-party reviews.
“To just build one web page, you may have to call 80 different servers 200 times to make that one web page appear for one user,” Stendardo said. “It’s an enormously complex ecosystem.”
Yotta’s solution to this problem is software that helps manage and streamline how web pages load and display. The company’s “InstantOn” product, for instance, automatically identifies and optimizes static content on a webpage and then caches it so that the web browser doesn’t have load it again.
The end result is web pages that can load faster and, by extension, convert more visitors into paying customers. For instance, Denver-based eBags said Yottaa’s software was able to increase its web page performance by 30 percent and its mobile conversion rates by 10 percent.
Stendardo said the company currently has about 40 employees, down from the 70 it had in December 2014. He said the downsizing was tied to the company’s change in focus but added that the company is now in expansion mode again. With the new funding round, he said the company expects to grow the team by 25-50 percent within the next year.
“It allows us to grow the business with a really strategic focus,” Stendardo said.