And the Winner is … Symphony Commerce
Symphony Commerce, a commerce-as-a-service platform provider that works with enterprise-level retailers, won the Shop.org Digital Commerce Startup of the Year competition during the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention and EXPO.
The competition, the first for Shop.org, involved asking a team of venture capitalists, retailers, industry analysts and Shop.org board members to identify a company that will significantly impact the business of retailing in the next five years. The team of judges included Michael Burgess, president, HBC Digital, Hudson's Bay Company; Vicki Cantrell, senior vice president, communities and executive director, Shop.org, National Retail Federation; J. Skyler Fernandes, managing director, Simon Venture Group; Josh Goldman, general partner, Northwest Venture Partners; Matthew Kaness, CEO, ModCloth; and Billy May, group vice president, e-commerce, digital and direct-to-consumer, Abercrombie & Fitch.
In December, the judges narrowed down 600 nominees to five finalists. The final nominees (in addition to Symphony Commerce) were Guru Hariharan, CEO and co-founder, Boomerang Commerce; David Munczinski, founder, Brickwork; Chris Bennett, CEO and co-founder, Soldsie; and Peter Jackson, CEO, Ziploop.
The winner's announcement came during a special session at the convention, aka "Retail's Big Show." During the session, the five finalists made their pitch to the judges, who then voted on the winner.
"Symphony has already shown significant potential as a company that helps brands build a retail and wholesale ecosystem," said Vicki Cantrell, NRF senior vice president and Shop.org executive director. "In this changing world of retail, that opportunity is important to new business. We are sure we will see more from this company for years to come."
As the winner, Harish Abbott, CEO and co-founder of Symphony Commerce, and his company received a one-year free membership to the National Retail Federation as well as $5,000 and a complimentary registration to Shop.org’s Digital Summit in 2015.
"There are significant operational challenges in running an online direct-to-consumer and wholesale business," said Abbott, in a NRF press release. "We created the Symphony platform so that brands could avoid those challenges and spend more time focusing on driving revenue. It's an honor to be recognized by Shop.org and some of the most forward-thinking individuals in the industry, especially this early on in our business venture."