Auction-based advertising infrastructure startup Topsort secures $8M in seed funding

Auction-based advertising infrastructure startup, Topsort, recently announced that it has raised $8 million in seed funding.

Founded just over a year ago, Topsort closed its seed round from various marketplace investors including Pear Ventures, Quiet Capital, FJLabs, Micky Malka (Ribbit Capital), Lydia Jett (Softbank), Akhil Paul, Comma VC and various other individual investors. This seed funding round sees the company valued at $110 million.

Topsort will use this round of funding to fuel its continuous growth, scale its product further and continue its mission to empower marketplaces by democratizing the previously exclusive auction-based advertising technology that has been used to drive profits at some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.

The company has created one single API that helps the world’s most exciting marketplaces and retailers scale native monetization via auction-based ad infrastructure.

Topsort was founded at the beginning of 2021, right after CEO and Co-Founder Regina Ye left an exhausting stint as Product Lead at another covid startup, Hopin. She’s a 24-year-old Gen Z entrepreneur who spent days and nights in college learning about Facebook and Amazon Ads, selling a beauty brand Zirui. She’s joined at Topsort by two top minds with long tenures at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest technology brands.

Michael Ostrovsky is Topsort’s Chief Scientist and is also a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business and a world-renowned economist on auction theory, game theory, and marketplace design. He’s spent 15 years in Silicon Valley advising marketplaces in auction-based sponsored listings, including Yahoo, Google Play Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Pinterest Ads. In addition, Francisco Larrain is Topsort’s CTO, and is a serial entrepreneur who had an early exit from Groupon.

The company also already has dozens of customers including Yummy, Facily, Airlift, Chiper, the Colombian retailer Sodimac and Atida – the owner of European pharmacies Mifarma and Aponeo.

Topsort’s CEO Regina Ye said that the idea of Topsort actually came out of her days as a Shopify seller in college: “I was a small seller on Shopify and worked with some retailers. I had to stay up during finals to figure out how advertising worked on Facebook and Amazon. There were two things I was most frustrated with from this experience. Firstly, it was daunting and hard to learn how to monetize on those channels effectively. I lacked confidence in myself being a performance marketer.

“Secondly, I wished the retail channels I was selling through, such as Grommet and Faire, would provide advertising technology that can let me promote directly through them, as I was sure it would be less saturated and less competitive than Amazon or Google.”

Regarding the funding round, she said: “We’re so grateful for the early customers that took a chance on us, and with this funding round we are very excited to help more and more vendors and marketplaces around the world to open up the potential of simple advertising that’s powered by auctions. Traditionally, large Silicon Valley companies have owned this space, but Topsort is on a mission to make this technology accessible to everyone.”