8 e-commerce companies that are poised to boom in 2021, according to industry experts

  • 2020 proved to be a disruptive and paradigm-shifting year for e-commerce, and following year likely won't disappoint either.
  • Business Insider analyzed numbers from Pitchbook Data and spoke with industry experts about what companies to keep an eye on for next year.
  • From food delivery giants to up-and-coming online marketplaces, here are the top picks for companies poised to boom in the new year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

2021 looks to be a good year for e-commerce after 2020 saw the sector blow past investor expectations. 

According to e-commerce platform Shopify, retail e-commerce enjoyed 10 years' worth of growth in 90 days due to the VOCID019 pandemic. With consumers more reliant than ever on online shopping, the coronavirus pandemic sparked soaring online sales. Plenty of major e-commerce companies may even go public in the coming months.

But which e-commerce outfits are truly on the verge of booming in 2021? Business Insider analyzed the numbers from private capital data firm PitchBook Data and spoke to experts in the industry to find out which companies could see the most opportunity come their way in the coming months.

Instacart

Investors: D1 Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price, PV Seed Fund, General Catalyst, Regah Ventures, DST Global, The Spaventa Group, and Valiant Capital Partners

Latest funding: Series G and Series H

Funding size: $550 million in 2020

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Instacart is a food and essential goods delivery company.

Why it will boom in 2021: Instacart is a dominant force in the grocery delivery space, which means that it's positioned to thrive in the coming months.

According to FJ Labs Founding Partner Fabrice Grinda, 2020 has brought about a major shift in consumer behavior. Shoppers are increasingly purchasing food and groceries online to contend with the pandemic. And because it's more affordable and convenient than ever, that's unlikely to stop even as the impact of COVID-19 wanes.

"E-commerce and food will continue to do extremely well in 2021," Grinda said. "So Doordash, Uber Eats, Seamless, Grubhub, and Instacart — the large scale food or grocery delivery — are all going to do really, really well."

Coupang

Investors: SoftBank and Sequioa Capital 

Latest funding: Investment from Softbank's Vision Fund

Funding size: $2 billion in 2018

Headquarters: Seoul 

What it does: Coupang is South Korea's powerhouse answer to Amazon.

Why it will boom in 2021: According to Grinda, South Korean giant Coupang is currently "crushing" in the e-commerce space. E-commerce demand in South Korea spiked during the pandemic. Reuters reported that the company saw soaring sales as a result.

"They can grow to $20 billion in sales annually," Grinda said. "This company is a monster. They're private, but they're going to be, I think, a $50 billion company."

OfferUp

Investors: GGV Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, OLX, and Warburg Pincus

Latest funding: Series F and later stage VC funding   

Funding size: $573.4 million in 2020

Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington

What it does: OfferUp is an online shopping platform that facilitates local sales.

Why it will boom in 2021: E-commerce platforms are having a moment that will likely last well into 2021. And according to Social Starts Venture Partner Charles Smith, OfferUp is set to become the Craigslist of commerce.

"The question I am so excited by is: How do you connect communities that are out there that want transactions to happen, that haven't had a way to communicate before?" he said.

Smith said that for consumers looking to get off Facebook and Amazon, OfferUp is set to present a tempting and localized alternative. 

Slice

Investors: GGV Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, OLX, and Warburg Pincus

Latest funding: Series C   

Funding size: $43 million in 2020

Headquarters: New York City

What it does: Slice is an online food ordering app for independent pizzerias.

Why it will boom in 2021: "The vertical food firms are going to do really well," Grinda told Business Insider, speaking about what's ahead for 2021. He said that Slice in particular is looking at over $1 billion in sales for next year.

StockX

Investors: Founders Circle Capital, Galaxy Interactive (United States), Marcy Venture Partners, General Atlantic, and A.Capital Ventures

Latest funding: Series D

Funding size: $128 million in 2020

Headquarters: Detroit

What it does: StockX is an online marketplace specializing in sneakers.

Why it will boom in 2021: If 2021 is going to be the year for online marketplaces, then StockX is at the forefront of niche operations. Grinda singled out StockX as one of the online marketplaces currently "crushing" the competition. 

Faire

Investors: SD1 Capital Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Dragoneer Investment Group, Founders Fund, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global, Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, and Forerunner Ventures

Latest funding: Series E

Funding size: $170 million in 2020

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Faire is a wholesale online marketplace that uses artificial intelligence to predict which products will sell best.

Why it will boom in 2021: Smith said that Faire offers the promise of creating a global "marketplace for wholesale" with plenty of opportunity for "small individual businesses." Smith said that Faire allows non-venture-backed companies once constrained by geography to buildup into a "$10 or $15 million business."

GOAT

Investors: D1 Capital Partners and Foot Locker

Latest funding: Series E

Funding size: $100 million in 2020

Headquarters: Culver City, California

What it does: Like StockX, GOAT is an online footwear marketplace.

Why it will boom in 2021: Smiths said that GOAT "jumps out" to him, thanks to its marketplace, branding, and slick interface. 

"There's so much opportunity in that market," he said. "From a collector's perspective, you're not relying on analysis to tell you what's hot or what's good. The marketplace is driving it."

Tock

Investor: Valor Siren Ventures

Latest funding: Funding round

Funding size: $10 million in May 2020

Headquarters: Chicago 

What it does: Tock is a dining reservation app that pivoted to food orders during COVID-19. 

Why it will boom in 2021: "Tock is much more integrated with what the restaurant systems are doing and is not dilutive to the restaurant brand," Smith told Business Insider, as opposed to competitors like OpenDoor. "It's allowing the restaurant or the purveyor to continue to reign supreme."

It also provides a restaurant brand with the added benefit of being cheaper than rivals.

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