Whitebox, the startup that manages e-commerce logistics and fulfillment for a variety of MNC brands, has raised $18 million in Series B funding. It was led by Alan Taetle of Noro-Moseley Partners, with participation from TDF Ventures, TCP Venture Capital’s Propel Baltimore Fund, Merkle global chairman David Williams and Millennial Media co-founder Chris Brandenburg
CEO Marcus Startzel reiterated what he said last year -that the startup is differentiated by combining tools for managing e-commerce listings across a variety of marketplaces with the ability to store and ship products from its own warehouse spaces across the US. The company had its first round of Series A funding of $5M last year.
“Whitebox helps brands and manufacturers win more sales and reduce costs in one powerful platform solution. Sell and move more products everywhere your customers are with our e-commerce marketplace and fulfillment technology and expertise.”- proclaims its website.
Commenting further, Startzel said ” We really saw an opportunity for a platform that could both sell stuff and move stuff. The thing that really shined for us through this period has been the third layer of that platform, which is our decisioning layer.
That’s the layer that allows brands to use data to answer questions like, “Should I fulfill this big wholesale order or hold inventory for the marketplaces? Should I inbound a bunch of stuff into Amazon, or do I keep it here in my Whitebox warehouses to potentially fulfill wholesale orders?”
COVID19 has brought sweeping overnight changes in the e-commerce business. Startzel said that initially, Whitebox’s ideal customer was a “challenger brand” whose business was mostly coming from Shopify, and who needed help as it expanded to Amazon and other marketplaces. But increasingly, the startup is also working with more traditional customers.
“Twenty-five years ago, if you wanted to buy a bottle of ketchup, you had to go to a store and discover a bottle of ketchup as you walked down the condiment aisle,” Startzel said. “Today, the store brands can no longer count on foot traffic, and they’re beginning to recognize how important it is to be on e-commerce.”
The company grew its revenue 144% year-over-year between 2018 and 2019. That was followed by a 40% increase in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first three months of 2019. Startzel expects to see even more growth throughout the remainder of the year. The icing on the cake comes with its direct-to-consumer shipments growing by 300% over the first half of the year.
Startzel also said that the company took “a very aggressive and conservative approach” to managing its fulfillment facilities during this period — aggressive in the sense that it wanted to ensure that there was no disruption in shipments, conservative in its efforts to make sure the facilities were safe.
Funding partner Taetle said, “Whitebox remains a leader in this extremely busy and competitive space, and is uniquely positioned to see continued growth. The team has built a technology platform that not only expands the tools and insights that brands need to manage their sales and fulfillment processes from top to bottom but also powers the larger e-commerce economy by eliminating marketplace complexities. Our investment signifies our confidence in Whitebox and the capabilities that we know the company can bring to the table for new and current customers.”
Startzel emphasized that the company will use the new funding to expand its sales and marketing teams, continue developing its technology platform and build out its fulfillment centers — it currently has centers in Baltimore-the HQ of Whitebox, Las Vegas, and Memphis, having active plans of expanding in the Midwest next year.