Amazon may be the Goliath of online retail. But venture capitalists last year poured more money into startups that are hoping to carve out niches in areas where they feel they can build businesses around the e-commerce giant’s edges, data show.
U.S. venture capitalists put about $5 billion into internet retail startups last year, according to data from Pitchbook. That’s up from $3.8 billion in 2017 and $2.9 billion in 2016 (and the highest amount it has recorded, going back to 2002). Grocery delivery company Instacart alone accounted for more than $1 billion of the funding, but even excluding that, internet retail companies brought in plenty of cash. Brandless raised $240 million last summer in a round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. DoorDash raised $535 million in March, and then another $250 million in August.