Sendle’s $20 million investment shows confidence in e-commerce sector
Australian delivery startup Sendle has raised $20 million ahead of what it says will be a year of ‘hyper-growth’, including the launch of new products and expansion into overseas markets.
The Series B funding round was led by Federation, which invested alongside Full Circle Venture Capital, Rampersand and Giant Leap as returning investors.
Sendle has raised a total of $25 million since launching in 2014 with the aim of becoming a viable alternative to Australia Post for small businesses by offering flat pricing nationwide and carbon-neutral, door-to-door pick-up and delivery.
The startup says it now facilitates more than $250 million in e-commerce shipments annually and has a customer base of multiple tens of thousands of small businesses.
Sendle founder and CEO James Chin Moody attributes the startup’s rapid growth at least in part to the concurrent rise in e-commerce in Australia.
“I think our business has had amazing tailwinds, you might say, because e-commerce has been growing very significantly,” Moody told Internet Retailing.
“If you look at NORSI [NAB’s Online Retail Sales Index] data, the fastest growing segment of e-commerce is small business, and as a business 100 per cent devoted to the small business needs, it means the fundamentals are in place for us to grow.”
Over the last 12 months, Sendle has launched a price guarantee, Australia’s first two-day delivery guarantee, a 24-hour drop-off service and a partnership with Pitney Bowes. Following the Series B funding round, the company plans to launch new products and focus on overseas expansion.
Moody said this would help Sendle strengthen its position in the delivery space, which has become more competitive since the rise of e-commerce. Amazon is reportedly looking to offer marketplace sellers a better deal than they can currently get from established delivery partners, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
But Moody is not concerned about the threat from a possible Amazon delivery service.
“We were very fortunate to have seen the need earlier than others. The real reason we’ve raised money is to continue building services and focusing on price. At this stage, the main competitor we have is Australia Post,” he said.
Since Amazon launched in Australia in December 2017, Moody said he has noticed a rise in shipping volume from existing e-commerce customers.
“Whether or not that’s attributed to Amazon, I don’t know. I think you can attribute it to the raised awareness that Amazon has brought to online shopping,” he said.