Backbone, plm, tech

Boulder, Colo.-based Backbone aims to “solidify” its position in the apparel workflow management space by closing on a Series A funding round, which brings the total raised to $18 million. The recent $10 million was led by the Foundry Group and builds upon $8 million raised last August, which was led by Signal Peak Ventures.

“We’ve seen firsthand the inefficiencies and difficulties direct-to-consumer brands face in getting great products to market,” Jason Mendelson, founding partner of the Foundry Group, said in a statement, highlighting the need for “modern” and “seamless” solutions for brands.

Over the past year, the cloud-based software — empowering the likes of Outdoor Voices, Warby Parker, Allbirds and more in managing workflows in regards to the product development process — has focused its efforts on deploying the second iteration of its Backbone PLM platform.

Releasing its new cloud-based platform in July, Backbone sets sights on continuing its growth objectives, improving cross-functional visibility and increased speed-to-market, while decreasing the amount of back-and-forth revisions between teams. Synching across software platforms such as Shopify (e-commerce), Netsuite (business management) and Slack (collaboration tool), Backbone aims to bolster the workflows in flux with the continuously evolving direct-to-consumer market for clients such as Black Diamond, Blank NYC, Backcountry, Chubbies, Peter Millar, Plae, Roka, Todd Snyder and others.

Backbone plans three key growth initiatives with the latest funding. The company will focus on increasing staffing, updating features and functionalities of the platform, as well as “solidifying their market presence.”

While at an industry conference in July, Klein told WWD that the team is “hyper-focused on the direct-to-consumer movement,” having added new functionalities in its latest iteration that enable better workflow management across the supply chain, transparency in sourcing and faster time to market — up to three to six months shorter, according to Klein.

Even iconoclastic Americana-with-an-edge label R13 uses Backbone to manage its product development process. At a dinner held by the company, the designers shared of the ease in making for an unencumbered design process — naturally heavy in denim, military, leopard and whatever else the team finds for its upcycled, rebellious designs.

On the road toward improving the next-gen apparel product development process, the team will launch a module for better merchandising and planning and purchase order creation, while potentially seizing the opportunity for expansive payment integrations that ease cross-border commerce.

“We see a huge opportunity in payments,” Klein said.

As direct-to-consumer brands focus on “next-generation” customers, winding the gears in their proprietary data collection methods, their workflows cannot be neglected.

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