The Future of Multi-Vendor Commerce: An Interview With Cortina Co-Founders

By Jager Robinson | February 26, 2024

In early 2024, Logicbroker announced the acquisition of Cortina, a “marketplace platform to watch” in the latest McFadyen Digital Suite Spot Report, which helped some of the largest fashion retailers and brands connect with over 1,500 suppliers. 

With this acquisition, Logicbroker now offers the most complete multi-vendor commerce platform on the market featuring advanced product discovery tools, rapid onboarding solutions, and the ability to create easy-to-use eCommerce fulfillment strategies that blend owned inventory, marketplace, and dropship capabilities into one complete solution. 

To understand more about what set Cortina apart in the industry, and how the combined organization is poised to grow to even greater heights together, we sat down with Cortina’s founders Keith George and Brooke Cundiff. 


Question Glossary

What led to the creation of Cortina? 

What were the key painpoints Cortina looked to alleviate in the market? 

How did the business grow outside your expectations? 

What were some key lessons learned along the way? 

How will Multi-Vendor Commerce continue to evolve, and why is our combined organization poised to tackle any challenge that may arise? 

What are you excited about in the future of eCommerce?


Q: What led to the creation of Cortina?

Keith George, Co-Founder and CEO of Cortina

“Brooke and I worked together before Cortina at various big retailers and department stores, and realized that the cost of inventory and creative expenses were just too high for most businesses. Expenses were crushing profit margins. When we set out to start our own eCommerce business in 2017, the primary guiding principle was to do it without owning inventory and a marketplace was the natural solution.” 

Brooke Cundiff, Co-Founder of Cortina:

“But that wasn’t the start of Cortina! We actually started a company called CoEdition, which was a consumer-facing marketplace for clothing.” 


“Right. After a few months of that venture, we received numerous inquiries asking to license the technology to run their own marketplaces and we initially turned them down. After a few more conversations they said they’d pay us a licensing fee and we said… ‘Okay! I guess we are a marketplace technology company now!’”


“Because of our merchandising backgrounds, the great thing about Cortina is we built it from a merchant’s perspective. The dashboards and tools were built based on what we needed. Everyone loves how easy it is to use and how well it fits into their current processes. We couldn’t have built Cortina without our background and without putting in the work to build CoEdition.”

Q: After you went live with your marketplace technology platform, what were the key pain points Cortina looked to alleviate? 


“There are really three key areas that Cortina focused on. We wanted to help customers increase their assortment, reduce their owned inventory burden, and lower their creative/merchandising resource requirements. Typically, you have to buy inventory and you have to ship it. If those suppliers aren’t on the same platform as you, then you’d have to spend a lot of time manually importing it into your system. Goal number one was always to make those slow operational processes more efficient.”


“We pretty quickly saw our customers increase their Average Order Value (AOV) and even their SEO from pulling in additional products and building out their marketplaces through the Cortina platform.”


“Honestly, the core challenges our customers were trying to fix were all pretty similar. Across verticals from fashion to consumer electronics, businesses want to get products on their site quickly and efficiently. Brooke and I may have gone from selling products on Black Friday to being a software company almost overnight, but we knew how to fix that problem.”   


“It honestly also came down to being the perfect partner to grow with these organizations. So many customers struggle to work with legacy commerce providers for a myriad of reasons. Cortina wanted to help everyone, big and small, have access to incredible tools to get the job done and actually grow with the organization as they brought on new vendors, products, and customers.” 

Q: How did the business grow outside your expectations? 


“I’ve got to give all the credit to Brooke for growing the business. Brooke’s relationships in the industry are second to none. She went out there and met with everyone behind the scenes. Once we signed Poosh, Kourtney Kardashian’s fashion brand, I knew we had something special. We pushed hard with organic growth and word of mouth.” 


“We just worked our network and all the people we’ve known. It was great for getting clients, but really our supplier network is just incredible. When we talk about Cortina’s benefits, I’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on our supplier network. 1,500 unique and individual suppliers, all benefiting from our proprietary product discovery tools that allow retailers to find unique ways to expand their assortment. The fact that this was through just the Cortina platform was a huge benefit. Cortina, compared to the competition, is a very robust network of some marquis brands.” 

Q: What were some key lessons learned along the way?


“For me, I realized that you can have the best technology in the world, but you have to work extremely hard to build awareness of the product. Cortina has all the tools to help, and we spend a lot of time helping educate the market on the benefits of our solution and implementing a curated marketplace.” 


“Keith and I kept looking at each other and thinking: ‘This idea is just so obvious. It’s such a no-brainer for us.’ But that doesn’t mean everyone will see the value immediately. This is Keith and I’s second company we’ve co-founded. Together we’ve experienced such highs and lows. But we have a great working relationship to make all of this work.” 

It’s important to note here Keith cut in with a smile that spoke volumes.  


“Aside from making it work together, the other lesson was around the beauty of a nimble team that was all remote. Company philosophies at the time we started were built around offices, but we built a strong team that could excel during COVID because we already established our remote connectivity. We learned some amazing and surprising lessons branching out from traditional workspaces that continue to allow us to pool incredible talent from across the globe.” 


“I’d say the last key lesson, related to what Keith said originally, was around guerrilla marketing. It’s wildly important. Keith and I come from huge retailers that have massive budgets and established brand identities. Starting something from scratch is difficult, but we are so proud of the company we and our team built.” 

Q: Moving on to more broad topics, how do both of you think Multi-Vendor Commerce will continue to evolve?


“Since the mid-2010s, we’ve seen more and more retailers embracing multi-vendor commerce. From big box stores to small startups, everyone is exploring ways to win in a very accessible and diverse global market. Cortina and Logicbroker have the perfect opportunity to showcase how any size retailer or brand can easily capitalize on the market all while reducing operational costs, increasing efficiency across the board, and exciting their customer base with new and interesting products.” 


“Early on we saw retail’s evolution pretty clearly. Customers went from exclusively shopping in-store to eCommerce sites popping up like crazy. Now, retailers have to maintain their products across various warehouses and online if they want to stay ahead. 

“But we’ve really entered a new evolutionary phase, one powered by Multi-Vendor Commerce. Now, any customer, in any location, is connecting with any supplier across the globe. And, if you’re working with Logicbroker, you’re seamlessly able to facilitate that transaction without worrying about inventory, shipping, or order fulfillment. 

“This results in a massive explosion of assortment and choice. The question then becomes: ‘How do you get the awareness from the customer, build trust, and be able to execute?’ The answer is a complete fulfillment strategy that blends dropshipping, marketplace, and owned inventory to connect anywhere, with any supplier, and deliver any customer experience. We can and will help these retailers and brands cut through the noise. Delivering curated, exceptional experiences is the key.”


“I just wanted to add that the reality is, it’s not even about online versus in-person options anymore. Retailers need to offer products online and offer a wider selection through a curated fulfillment solution that brings products online faster and that caters to a retailer or brand’s customer base. Multi-vendor commerce is the future of online selling and with customer acquisition costs (CACs) constantly on the rise, I think it’s a no-brainer to see how the tools Cortina and Logicbroker bring will provide the perfect outlet for those looking to sell online.” 

Q: What are you excited about in the future of eCommerce?


“Data. Specifically, data use. Those who’ve already embraced multi-vendor commerce see this already, but the things that you can do with data are incredible. Imagine a world where 10,000 brands are feeding through real-time inventory and pricing. Being able to anonymize that data and glean insights into the market is incredibly powerful and something Logicbroker customers are already enjoying. Retailers and brands can expand their assortment strategically, check on suppliers, and figure out their entire retail strategy on the data running through their site. 

“We all know that retail operates on tough profit margins. Being able to deliver another point or two of margin is the difference between living and dying. Combined, the Cortina and Logicbroker teams are delivering opportunities to our customers to understand what’s going on in the market through the right synthesis of anonymized, strategically reported data.”


“I’m excited to see more retailers tailor their assortment and curate it toward their shoppers. Whether that’s through new technologies like AI or through new tools that haven’t been invented yet. Delivering a personalized customer experience means providing the curated user experience that customers are demanding.

“I also think curating local products will continue to help retailers thrive. Whether these products are designed to promote protecting their environment or to encourage people to shop locally, retailers can do very interesting things with a broader fulfillment strategy and with multi-vendor commerce.”

What It’s All About

As Keith and Brooke signed off the call, Keith mentioned that the name Cortina derives from a very special moment with his father. “The name Cortina comes from the last trip my father and I took skiing before he passed away. Brooke was kind enough to let us use the name on something we both created, but Cortina truly is a meaningful company to us both.” Cortina is the name of a town and ski resort in the Italian mountains. 

About Logicbroker

Logicbroker is a premier multi-vendor commerce platform that seamlessly connects trading partners regardless of integration types. Our modern solutions empower retailers and brands to take control of their customer experience by harnessing and analyzing vital first-party data, reducing inventory risk, and curating their expanded assortment. By improving the visibility into our client’s commerce programs, Logicbroker can better position retailers and brands for transformative growth.

As business needs and demand shift, Logicbroker provides the ability to quickly switch suppliers and product fulfillment between 3P to 1P and responsibly find new sources of inventory that uphold your brand integrity and meet your delivery promise. ​We work with mid-market and Enterprise manufacturers, brands, and retailers across a number of verticals including Health & Wellness, Home Improvement, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Babies, and Consumer Packaged Goods and service brands such as Samsung, Victoria’s Secret, The Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, and BBQGuys.

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