When Initialized first funded Shogun two years ago, we were convinced they were building a best-in-class page builder for e-commerce. However, what really sold us on the investment was the founders and their depth of knowledge. Their industry insight and attention to detail has resulted in Shogun’s next product, Frontend, for creating headless e-commerce sites.

Initialized is delighted to announce we have led their Series A to pursue that vision, along with participation from VMG Ventures and Y Combinator.

The Shogun Frontend site creation tool

Long page load times disproportionately hurt e-commerce businesses, because lag times result directly in lost revenue. Over time, page bloat from larger front-end libraries and higher resolution media has caused the traditional web model of new server requests per page load to result in very slow sites.

This is where progressive web applications (PWAs) using headless architectures really shine. The entire front-end of the site is built into static HTML, CSS, and Javascript files that can be heavily cached and split apart so that the web browser only loads the parts of the site the viewer currently needs. These static front-ends then connect to back-end systems via headless APIs, i.e. server endpoints designed to be accessed only via other code that lack a graphical user interface and all this results in immense performance increases.

The catch is that improvements sometimes come at a cost of development complexity, something I know first hand from having recently rebuilt Initialized’s website as a PWA. Using them requires a different approach to website architecture and deeper thinking around how and when content should be loaded into a website, often via mostly or entirely front-end sites that access back-end data stores via headless APIs. Tooling for non-technical users is also nowhere near as robust as it is for more traditional sites.

Shogun Frontend is solving exactly this issue, making it just as simple to create a headless e-commerce site as it already is to build pages for a more traditionally architected site using Shogun Page Builder. The major e-commerce platforms Shogun Page Builder supports also have headless API layers so store owners will not need to migrate away from the back-end store management they are used to.

But instead of having to use those APIs by coding new sites themselves from scratch, Frontend will enable store owners to create sites with a visual editor with all the polish users have come to expect from Page Builder. If you’re building an e-commerce site register here to hear more when Frontend is ready for use.

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Finbarr Taylor and Nick Raushenbush, founders of Shogun | Photo by Julie Kay Kelly

I originally met one of Shogun’s founders, Finbarr Taylor, soon after I left Y Combinator. He had joined the firm, inheriting all the code I had written there. So we had some shared context when he left YC to pursue Shogun full-time. Since then it has been a pleasure watching him and his co-founder Nick run Shogun with a deep focus not just customer delight, but also on building an amazing, globally distributed team with an emphasis on company culture. I’m proud to continue to be along for the ride while they take the next natural step with Frontend.