API startup Shippo doubled its valuation to $495 million with new funding to make all shipping as easy as Amazon Prime

Laura Behrens Wu_Headshot

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Shippo, a software startup that wants to make shipping as easy as Amazon Prime for all online businesses, announced a $45 million Series D round on Tuesday led by D1 Capital and joined by other existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Union Square Ventures, Uncork Capital, and Version One.

The newest round of funding placed the company’s valuation at $495 million, more than double its Series C valuation of $220 million in April 2020. To date, Shippo has raised $94 million.

Shippo’s goal is to help small-to-medium sized businesses achieve fast, low-cost shipping by offering application programming interfaces, or APIs, to link together e-commerce firms’ various services. APIs essentially connect data and features from different apps and tools, allowing them to “talk” to each other; payments firm Stripe and communications platform Twilio are two of the biggest companies in this space. 

Shippo aims to be the “Stripe for shipping,” cofounder Laura Behrens Wu told Insider: Its platform helps online stores bill customers for shipping costs, print labels, track packages, handle returns, and more, essentially connecting all online and offline processes.

“There are real life events that need to happen: A truck needs to pull up at your warehouse. The warehouse workers have to figure out which items are put into what box, put a label on it, give to the right courier,” Wu said. “There is an offline component involved — even though we don’t run any warehouses ourselves or ship any packages ourselves, we still need to figure out how to make that work.”

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The company now serves more than 70,000 customers, including GOAT, him, Touch of Modern, and Aesop. Anything that can fit in an average-sized box that Fedex or UPS can deliver easily is fair game for Shippo. 

“Everything you can buy on the internet, we’ve shipped it,” Wu said. “Recently I’ve seen that there was a store selling crickets for, I guess pets that eat crickets. Anything you can imagine being sold on the internet, I’m sure we’ve shipped.”

Aside from cricket retailers, Wu said the firm’s”bread and butter” is small lifestyle businesses, including fashion, cosmetics, and food companies.

The firm has seen a spike in use as e-commerce has thrived due to the pandemic: New data from ESET shows that 70% of Americans are shopping more online than they did before the pandemic. 

“COVID was an accelerant for e-commerce. So more big businesses have been moving online and new businesses that were getting started as online businesses as well. And then all of our existing customers were shipping more than before, because it’s changing consumer behavior,” Wu said. “All of that was just really good for our main metrics.”

Shippo’s existing investors saw the growth and decided to double down, she added. That VC enthusiasm is a far cry from what Wu experienced when the firm originally tried to raise funding. 

“I actually pitched more than a hundred investors to raise our seed round,” she said. “I think it took awhile for me to figure out how to pitch, …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech

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