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Sendcloud nabs $177M led by SoftBank to double down on SaaS — shipping as a service

E-commerce has undoubtedly seen a huge boost in growth in the last year and a half of Covid-19 living, with people turning to the web and apps to shop for essentials and not-so-essentials to keep their social distance, and using delivery services to receive their goods rather than picking things up in person.
Today, a Dutch startup called Sendcloud that has built a service to help retailers with the latter of these — providing a cloud-based to easily organize and carry out shipping services by choosing from a wide range of carriers and other options — is announcing $177 million in funding, a major investment that speaks not just to Sendcloud’s recent growth, but of the demand in the market for what it does: provide an efficient and viable alternative to simply turning to Amazon for fulfillment, or going through the manual and costly process of sorting out shipping directly with the companies that provide it.
“We try to provide Amazon-level logistics to all the other merchants out there,” Rob van den Heuvel, Sendcloud’s CEO and co-founder, said in an interview. Pre-lock down, he said the company — which now has 23,000 customers — was seeing on average between 70% and 80% growth each year. During lockdown that went up to 120%, with 133% increases in parcel volumes, “And we have not seen volumes going down since,” he added.
Softbank Vision Fund 2 — a prolific investor in the many parts of the e-commerce ecosystem — is leading this Series C, with L Catterton and HPE Growth also participating. This by far the biggest investment Sendcloud has ever had: the Eindhoven, Netherlands-based startup has been around since 2012 and before now had raised just over $23 million ($23 million, 23,000 customers has a nice ring to it.)
Van den Heuvel confirmed that the startup is not disclosing its valuation with this round although a source very close to the deal tells us it’s around $750 million.
As a point of reference, Shippo — a U.S. company operating in a similar space but with 100,000 customers to Sendcloud’s 23,000 — in June raised money at a $1 billion valuation. Shippo has, however, also raised significantly more money and will have had its valuation ratcheting up as a result of that, too. On Sendcloud’s side, our source pointed out that it’s demonstrated a very strong amount of capital efficiency in its growth.
The gap in the market that Sendcloud (and would-be rivals like Shippo and Stamps.com) is addressing is a very clear one. E-commerce is now a major channel for retailers of all sizes, and as the market continues to mature, customers buying online or in-person but still getting their goods delivered are getting more sophisticated in terms of what they expect in service levels.
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