An already hot month for tech investment in Waterloo Region got hotter Friday on news that Tulip, maker of cloud-based mobile retail solutions, has raised US$28 million in Series C financing.

The round was led by Arrowroot Capital of Santa Monica, Calif. with participation from BDC Capital and existing investors. The money will “aid plans for future expansion in this exciting time for retail,” Tulip said in a release.

The Tulip raise extends a red-hot streak of funding announcements in the Waterloo Region tech community in recent weeks, with companies such as Faire, ApplyBoard, SkyWatch raising significant growth rounds.

Founded and led by CEO Ali Asaria, Tulip counts some of the world’s biggest fashion, luxury and retail brands among its clients, including Mulberry, Saks Fifth Avenue, Kendra Scott, Kate Spade, COACH and Michael Kors. Its mobile platform for retail store associates aims to enhance both their knowledge and the in-store experience for shoppers.

Despite widespread closures or restrictions on physical stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulip has seen “explosive growth,” Asaria said, as retailers “doubled down on investments in store innovation.”

The company, founded in 2013, previously raised a US$40-million Series B round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture firms. At the time of that 2017 raise, Asaria told Communitech News about the unusual circumstances under which it came about.

A few months later, Asaria, a former member of Communitech’s board of directors, drew further attention as “the tech CEO who gave away his money” when he pledged 80 per cent of his Tulip shares to charity.

The Series C round announced today will facilitate the growth of Tulip’s sales and marketing team, accelerate roadmap development and boost global expansion, the company said. Tulip is also “preparing for its largest product announcement in Q3 2021,” according to the release.

“We are looking forward to continuing Tulip’s explosive growth experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic with this funding,” Asaria said. “The retail landscape is changing, and we want to ensure retailers have the required technology to enhance the customer experience in their stores.”

Matt Klein, Principal at Arrowroot Capital, said the firm “could not be more thrilled to support Tulip at this stage in their growth,” adding, “We think retail is poised for dramatic change as we come out of the pandemic, and we identified Tulip as the leader when it comes to next-generation store technology for enterprise retailers.”

Jérôme Nycz, Executive Vice President at BDC Capital, said, “We are confident that Tulip’s leadership coupled with its team’s strong expertise will continue to drive the company’s growth in the years to come. This new financing from BDC Capital’s Bridge Financing Program will allow the company to tackle new opportunities and expand into this new era of retail.”