Press release

Retail Zipline Raises $9.6M Series A Funding from Emergence and Serena Williams through Serena Ventures to Empower Retail Workforces in the Experience Economy

Loved by retailers like Lush Cosmetics, Torrid and the LEGO Group, Retail Zipline improves retail employees’ productivity by streamlining, coordinating, and automating communications from HQ

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (May 16, 2019) -- Retail Zipline, the leading communication and execution platform for retailers who believe in the power of the store experience, today announced a $9.6 million Series A led by Emergence with participation from Serena Williams through her venture firm, Serena Ventures. Emergence is a renowned venture capital firm focused on early-stage enterprise companies whose portfolio includes Salesforce, Box, Zoom, and others who together have a collective worth exceeding $100 billion. Santi Subotovsky and Kara Egan from Emergence will be joining Retail Zipline’s Board of Directors.

This new investment will fuel Retail Zipline’s growth so the company can expand the team and continue building products that improve the lives of retail associates, a demographic that comprises one in four American jobs, yet has historically been underserved.

“We look for companies that are one-step ahead, shaping their strategies based not only on what the current market lacks, but where their industry is headed,” said Kara Egan, Principal at Emergence. "I'm excited to be partnering with a company that has created a new way to deliver engaging on-brand customer experiences by giving employees the right tools to execute HQ's vision.”

Top retailers like Lush Cosmetics, the LEGO Group, and Torrid rely on Retail Zipline's software to improve productivity and deliver a memorable in-store experience. The company offers large and small retailers alike the ability to take operational information like sales promotions, product launches and best practices from HQ – which come from many siloed departments and change rapidly – and structure it in an intuitive and engaging way. This makes it easy for employees in stores to understand the context, prioritize work, and collaborate with teammates quickly so they can deliver on the brand promise.

"I spent a decade working at a top global retailer trying to engage store teams and make sure they delivered on our vision, but the solutions that were available didn't solve our execution and communications challenges," said Melissa Wong, co-founder, and CEO of Retail Zipline. "Other industries have benefited from new workflow tools, but retail has been left behind. That's why we built Retail Zipline: we’re by retail, for retail. Our core mission is to build products that meet the needs of America’s most populous workforce: retail employees. We are grateful to have the support of Emergence and Serena Ventures, who have partnered with us to make our vision of improving retail worker's lives and the in-store experience a near term reality.”

Retail Zipline’s current product suite was developed based on the feedback of tens of thousands of store employees, district managers, retail executives and communication managers, and includes four key applications, accessible via mobile and desktop:

  • Messages and Tasks: A communications, execution and engagement platform that helps stores track information from HQ and take action on it.
  • Resource Library: A centralized home for documents and multimedia that HQ can brand, manage and personalize without IT work.
  • Store Surveys: An internal survey tool that reports results, feedback and photos for each store in real-time, and provides visibility throughout the organization.
  • Group Communication: A two-way discussion platform that completes the feedback loop, enabling stores to communicate with each other and with HQ.

“Retail workers are among the 2.7 billion-person-strong portion of the workforce not sitting at a desk that’s been relatively left behind by new forms of tech that don’t address their pain points,” said Santi Subotovsky, General Partner at Emergence. “We saw a unique opportunity to partner with a company that’s changing the way the retail workforce works. Hearing Zipline customers rave about how the technology is making their businesses more effective and accountable inspired us to join the Zipline team on this journey to help brands build stronger relationships with their customers.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of all retail associates in the US are female (48.7 percent) and over one-third are people of color (35.9 percent). With a focus on supporting companies that serve underrepresented groups, Serena Williams through her fund Serena Ventures joined the Series A to support Retail Zipline as the company sets out to empower retail workforces. This is Serena Ventures’ first investment in a retail SaaS product.

“As someone with an incredibly active life, I understand the need to be dynamic, and capable of quickly adapting to shifting priorities, but I’m also aware of the stress a fast-paced work environment can impose,” said Serena Williams of Serena Ventures. “Retail Zipline is tackling this issue head-on in retail – a notoriously stressful industry – by pioneering products that help store associates get organized, communicate efficiently, and deliver amazing customer experiences. I’m excited to support them as they change the way retail works from the bottom up.”

Comprised of experts in retail who’ve seen communication challenges first-hand, Retail Zipline is operating at a global scale, with more than 55 thousand users across 8 thousand stores using the solution. Likewise, the company has embraced the new way of working, employing a fully remote team across North America and Europe, who previously worked at Bonobos, Yahoo, Google, Target, Zenefits, Apple (retail) and more.  

For passionate people who are ready to empower the retail workforce, learn more about joining the Retail Zipline team here:

About Retail Zipline

Retail Zipline is the leading communication and execution platform for retailers who believe in the power of the store experience. Built with the complexities of retail in mind, Retail Zipline helps HQ streamline and coordinate communications with the field, in a way that makes store teams happier and more productive. The company's goal is to improve the lives of one million retail employees by 2025, and the platform is already used by leading brands such as Lush Cosmetics, BevMo!, the LEGO Group, TOMS, Torrid, Lumber Liquidators, and others. Retail Zipline is a 100% distributed company with employees across North America and Europe. They are backed by leading venture capitalists including Emergence, Serena Ventures, and Hillsven Capital. To learn more, please visit

About Emergence

Emergence is a leading venture capital firm focused on early-stage enterprise companies. Its mission is to be the most valuable partner to the most important companies that are changing the way the world works. The firm's investments include companies such as Salesforce (CRM), Veeva Systems (VEEV), Box (BOX), SuccessFactors (SFSF, acquired by SAP), Yammer (acquired by Microsoft), Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM), ServiceMax (acquired by GE) and Intaact (acquired by Sage). More information on Emergence Capital can be found at

About Serena Ventures

In 2014, entrepreneur, philanthropist and tennis icon, Serena Williams, created Serena Ventures with a mission to discover and support exceptional entrepreneurs and the revolutionary products they design. Serena Ventures emphasizes investing in companies with diverse leadership – including women and people of color. Under Serena’s watchful eye, Serena Ventures focuses on early stage (angel/seed/series A) companies, as well as mentoring young, burgeoning founders.

Serena Ventures extends relationships, encourages collaboration among portfolio companies, and expands partnership opportunities across Serena Williams’ vast network. Serena Ventures has investments in over 30 companies across multiple industries. The SV portfolio includes businesses that touch e-commerce, food & beverage, fashion, health & wellness, social good, and more. Every investment opportunity is carefully vetted based on the founder’s background, business model and market opportunity. Most importantly, all brands align with the Serena Ventures mission and Serena’s core values. Learn more at: