Growing Houston startup moves HQ to Austin
Houston has lost the headquarters of Cart.com, an e-commerce startup that launched last year and already is poised to go public, to Austin.
The company announced December 9 that it relocated its headquarters to downtown Austin, where it already employs 150 people and plans to hire at least another 150 people within the next 12 months. Cart.com supplies an array of software and services for more than 2,000 online merchants.
Moving the headquarters out of Houston represents something of a change in mindset. During an October interview with InnovationMap’s Houston Innovators Podcast, chief of staff at Cart.com, Remington Tonar, affirmed the startup’s dedication to Houston.
“While many of our founding execs will remain in Houston,” Tonar wrote December 9 on LinkedIn, “our Austin office has become a magnet for top talent and is already home to hundreds of Cart.com employees.”
Aside from Houston and Austin, Cart.com has offices in Dallas, Beaumont, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It plans to open locations next month in the Netherlands and Poland.
Over the past 12 months, Cart.com has raised $143 million in venture capital, purchased nine companies, opened nine fulfillment centers, and built a workforce of close to 400 people. The company plans to grow its total headcount to about 1,000 by the first quarter of 2022.
“With more and more Silicon Valley tech companies relocating to Texas, and Elon Musk moving Tesla’s HQ to Austin, the ‘Silicon Hills’ area is increasingly seen as the country’s most exciting and fertile space for high-tech innovation,” Cart.com says in a news release.
The move coincides with Cart.com being named Startup of the Year by Capital Factory, an Austin-based startup accelerator that has offices in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. Capital Factory is an investor in Cart.com.
By relocating to Austin, Cart.com says it can benefit from being in the same business ecosystem as Austin-based companies like Whole Foods, YETI, Kendra Scott, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bumble, and Tecovas.
“We’ll forever call Houston our home, but I’m beyond excited to be opening Cart.com’s corporate headquarters in Austin — not only the country’s top tech town, but also the home to so many of the iconic brands we love,” said Omair Tariq, co-founder and CEO of Cart.com. “Today, the world’s best and brightest engineers, coders, creatives, and tech leaders are flocking to Texas — and Cart.com is part of the reason why. There’s no better place than Austin for a brand-obsessed company like Cart.com to plant its flag as we reimagine e-commerce and drive growth for today’s top merchants.”
For Cart.com, which was founded in September 2020, this has been a whirlwind year. For example:
- In November, the company hired Frank Parker as chief financial officer. Parker will lead Cart.com’s effort to launch an IPO in the next two years. He had been executive vice president of finance at New Jersey-based Managed Health Care Associates, a provider of health care services and technology.
- In September, the company tapped sales veteran Randy Ray as chief revenue officer. He was senior vice president of High Jump, a provider of supply chain management software.
- In August, Cart.com raised $98 million in a Series B round.
- In May, the company brought aboard Michael Svatek as the company’s first chief product officer. He previously was chief product and strategy officer at Austin-based Bazaarvoice, a provider of social data about shopping behavior.
- In April, it wrapped up a Series A round of $25 million, preceded by a seed round of $20 million.
Before co-founding Cart.com, Tariq spent about 10 years as an executive — including chief financial officer — at Houston-based Blinds.com, a retailer of window coverings. The Home Depot acquired Blinds.com in 2014. Tariq has been a mentor at Capital Factory since 2019 and an adviser at the Station Houston tech hub since 2018.“We started Cart.com to put e-commerce brands in charge of their operations,” Tariq said in November, “and to give founders control over every aspect of their business.”