ShipBob, which helps ecommerce businesses with shipping and logistics, today announced funding of $17.5 million, led by Bain Capital Ventures.
The Chicago-based startup provides a variety of services and solutions, such as storing a business’ inventory, packaging orders, and shipping them via USPS, UPS, or other regional carriers. “Think of our SaaS product as the control center for e-commerce businesses to run their operations,” wrote ShipBob cofounder and CEO Dhruv Saxena, in an email to VentureBeat.
For businesses selling across multiple sales channels — like Amazon, Shopify, and eBay — ShipBob acts as an omni-channel order management tool that lets them have visibility across all channels using only one service.
The company doesn’t charge for its SaaS offering — it generates revenue via a fulfillment charge if the order has been successfully completed. Businesses also pay to store their items at ShipBob’s fulfillment centers.
Saxena views traditional 3PL (third-party logistics providers) who cater to giant ecommerce companies as competitors. ShipBob claims to be more accessible to small to mid-sized ecommerce businesses and counts GuardLama and Brik as customers, among others.
Founded out of Y Combinator’s Summer 2014 batch, ShipBob chose to launch in Chicago. This could be deemed a “risky move” by Silicon Valley devotees, but Saxena thinks otherwise. “The Midwest is a great place to start a logistics company as it allows us easy access to both the coasts for the shipping,” he wrote. “Chicago is also cheaper from the cost of living and hiring perspective. Salaries are 20 to 30 percent less than what you would pay in the Valley.”
Even though Saxena recognizes the YC brand for helping ShipBob unlock its seed capital from the West Coast, he also acknowledges the value of having local investors like Hyde Park Venture Partners and Hyde Park Angels. “Both funds are involved with ShipBob and they have really helped us tap into the local talent network, which is on par with the Valley,” he said. Existing investors FundersClub and FJ Labs also joined today’s round.
The fresh money will be used to open more fulfillment centers and hire additional engineers. ShipBob currently has 125 employees and has raised a total of $23.5 million to date.