- NATALIE NOBLE
IZZY ROSENZWEIG, Founder & CEO, BROWZE, Toronto, Canada
"The Next Frontier of E-commerce"
In his early years, Izzy Rosenzweig, Founder and CEO at Browze, a ground-breaking cross-border e-commerce provider, was a naturally innovative and entrepreneurial young man with a generous spirit focused towards family. “Growing up in a large family of nine children, I understood the value of maximizing every dollar,” says Izzy. “How do we look at every dollar coming in and help my parents stretch it as far as possible?
“In my family, we would buy private-label goods,” he recalls. “These private label companies avoid the brand tax, they’re more efficient and smarter in the way they manage their supply chain, and those savings are passed on to their customers.” The efficiency and cost-saving from private label products helped inspire Izzy to build Browze that today serves millions of customers.
“The way private label companies managed their supply chain certainly helped my family growing up,” says Izzy. “So I asked myself, how could I look at the current retail environment and identify other opportunities in the current supply chain to make it even more efficient, and pass those savings on to the customer? This is how we got started.”
Series A Investment
In June 2021, Browze formally announced this partnership in the form of a $12.5M USD Series A funding injection by Valor Siren Ventures. The first $7.5 million was distributed in 2020 with $5 million in additional funds invested in early 2021.
The partnership means Izzy can lead his team into the next frontier of cross-border ecommerce in numerous ways. “Today, this means we can hire the top-tier talent we need to build scalable technological and logistics infrastructures for cross-border commerce,” says Izzy. “Cross border commerce is not easy; there are always complex problems to solve. At Browze, we’re passionate about succeeding at it and we’re looking for people who are passionate about solving difficult problems. Now we have the funding to hire those people and build a great infrastructure that supports continued growth for the company. That’s what we’re working on today.”
Browze will also now tap into more suppliers and build a larger inventory selection while maintaining their priority to quality control. “We’re working to expand our reach by building a great infrastructure in China while making sure we’re even more involved in the quality control process,” says Izzy. “It’s important to us that we constantly give our customers a great experience through great products along with the most reliable shopping experience.”
Making the jump from Izzy’s youth to the investment announcement last month may simplify the creation and development of Browze. In fact, it’s taken vision, leadership, relationships, and frankly, hard work every step of the way. Izzy appreciates everything that fell into place to move Browze to where it is today, but is also proud of the hard work he and his team have consistently put in to drive the company into the future.
A rapid evolution for the retail revolution
“This all evolved over time. In the beginning, it was all about importing and gaining an understanding of what challenges our customers were facing and how we could solve them,” says Izzy. “It was brick by brick and I feel super fortunate and excited to see it grow over the years.”
Izzy’s role in the company has transformed since Browze’s inception in 2012. “I was originally an importer, bringing in products by the container,” he says. “Even buying directly from China there were so many middlemen involved by the time product landed in my warehouse and was delivered to the customer. So much of the savings were drained. We had to pay the local warehouse, the distributer, broker or agent. To me this was an aggravating feeling thinking, ‘I want to bring a better cost to my customer,’ but I simply couldn’t.”
So, Izzy and his team worked to evolve Browze into its current trailblazing retail model that facilitates product movement directly from the factory to the buyer, steering away from the import business in 2017. In early 2020 the pandemic introduced new challenges to overcome at Browze. “Supply chains were very complex, logistics were massively delayed, and there was a very difficult first six-to-eight weeks,” says Izzy. “However, that caused us to dive deeper and get even more involved in our supply chain. Not only did we get back to where we were prior, we got even better and faster.”
Izzy humbly passes credit for Browze’s rapid success to some tremendous supports along the way. “I was very fortunate early on when we added some incredible advisors to the company. Both Alibaba Group ex-executives including former vice president of finance Samuel Yen, and former vice president of AliExpress Shaoming Yang, have been integral to realizing our vision,” says Izzy. “They introduced me to a new frontier in retail. Our foundation has been the ability to connect factories to consumers. In regular retail, there’s a whole chain of people involved in the supply: the importer, the wholesaler, local warehousing, etc. Every time the product moves from hand to hand, there’s no way to avoid the cost of the product going up because people need to be paid along the way.”
It’s that ability to connect back with the consumer and avoid all the middle-people involved in traditional retail that’s allowed Browze to pass incredible savings back to their customer. “That’s how we started Browze. The deal was: how can we connect factories to consumers?” recalls Izzy. “We grew the company quite aggressively over the last couple of years and we’ve serviced millions of customers. During this growth, one thing that’s been clear to us – and it’s the way we differentiate ourselves ahead of our competitors – we stand for quality over quantity.”
Quality over quantity, always
While other platforms in the marketplace also offer direct buy from the factory, Izzy describes their take a different approach. “They upload millions of product SKUs. The problem with that strategy is that with millions of products, it’s difficult to provide quality assurance and give consumers a reliable experience,” says Izzy.
So, in addition to Browze’s uncompromising dedication to offering reliable quality products, it’s equally important that in every transaction the customer feels like they had a winning experience.
“We get involved in product quality, photography, copywriting, logistics, every facet, all to make sure when a customer does buy directly from the manufacturer, they have a great experience and the product is delivered as promised,” says Izzy. “They’re then able to take that dollar and stretch it even further. For every dollar saved by our customers, it’s a win for them and it’s a win for us. It means we’re doing our job.
Today, millions of Browze customers have purchased unique products in various lifestyle categories including kitchen, home, electronics, health and beauty, and more. “Our mission as we continue to grow is to deliver products in every major category as long as we can guarantee a great price with confidence that we’re offering quality products and service. We’ll keep growing our assortment and helping customers connect directly with these factories so they can save more money for their families.”
Beyond his customer-first focus, Izzy enjoys life in Toronto with his family. He is thrilled to announce that his team is growing with exciting employment opportunities happening at Browze. “We are a team of 50 Browzers who are the foundation of Browze’s growth over the last few years,” he says. “In partnership with our investors and our team, we’re all very excited about this amazing opportunity to build and lead this market segment into the future of retail.”
Natalie Noble’s love of writing stems from her passion for hearing and sharing people’s stories. Over the years she has written for various business, real estate, and agriculture publications. At the heart of her work is a desire to continuously learn and connect.