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On-demand warehousing fulfillment startup Flowspace today announced that it raised $31 million in a series B equity funding round. Los Angeles, California-based Flowspace says that the round, which was led by BuildGroup, will enable it to expand its network of fulfillment centers to build on pandemic-driven growth. The company says that the number of orders shipped on its platform increased 10 times during the past year.
The demand for warehousing fulfillment is on the rise. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, about 35% of industrial leasing activity was related to ecommerce, according to a report from JJL. But as early as July, as much as 50% of that leasing activity was tied to the online retail industry. JJL anticipates that as a result, the need for industrial real estate could reach an additional 1 billion square feet by 2025.
Founded in 2017, Flowspace offers fulfillment and distribution services, warehouses, and a team of workers that help pick, pack, and ship products. Customers can track inbound and outbound shipments to and from warehouses and access a network intelligence tool for real-time insights and logistics recommendations. Companies get an overview of all the items in their Flowspace warehouses. And they can see inventory, orders, and things that require action.
According to cofounder and CEO Ben Eachus, Flowspace taps AI and machine learning to deliver predictive insights that allow retailers and ecommerce companies to anticipate market demands and stock inventory in those locations.
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“From the time an order is placed on a website to the time it arrives at someone’s door, it is tracked in our software. Our software is already running in hundreds of warehouse facilities that are using Flowspace to enable e-commerce fulfillment,” he said. “This means that with a single integration point, brands can store and ship their products from multiple locations, so they can offer faster and cheaper delivery to their customers. This process historically takes weeks or months; with Flowspace, they can do this in days.”
While only 12% of manufacturing, transportation, and other industrial organizations recently surveyed by Deloitte said that they’re using AI in their operations, companies reliant on logistics stand to benefit from it. A McKinsey report found that the majority of enterprises saw cost reduction in supply chain planning costs after implementing AI. To this point, plant-based foods startup Nuggs says it notched a 460% increase in monthly orders after adopting Flowspace’s solution.
“It’s widely reported that the pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce. For every $100 spent online, companies are spending $20 of that to store and ship these products to customer’s homes. We support brands selling online and helping them get products to their customers more efficiently,” Eachus continued. “We are building the most scalable and capital efficient fulfillment platform in the industry. This won’t happen overnight, but in a few years, when you order something online, those products will have moved through the Flowspace platform.”
With the series B, 80-person Flowspace has raised a total of $46 million to date. Previous investments came from Canvas Ventures, Industrious Ventures, Moment Ventures, 1984 Ventures, eGateway Capital, and Y Combinator.
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