By now, many of us are familiar with the warehouse robots that populate these vast spaces occupied by companies like Amazon and others. In particular, Amazon pioneered the technology. But it’s 2021 already, and pairing warehouse robots with a software logistics platform is no longer a company monopoly.
A late-stage startup that has been ‘making hay’ with every idea is Packagean e-commerce delivery platform with a sophisticated software platform that integrates with the robotics essential to modern logistics operations.
The company has now raised €200 million ($225 million) in a Series D funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The capital will be used for product development and expansion in Europe.
New entrants to this round also include Infravia Capital Partners, First Bridge Ventures and Endeavor Catalyst. Returning investors include Unbound, Kibo Ventures, Big Sur Ventures, RPS Ventures, Fuse Partners, Rider Global, Castel Capital and Iñaki Berenguer.
This funding round comes after creating a profitable position in its home market of Spain, but Paack says it is on track to achieve similar in its European operations such as the UK, France and Portugal.
Founded by Fernando Benito, Xavier Rosales and Suraj Shirvankar, Paack now says it is delivering several million orders a month from 150 international customers, processing 10,000 orders an hour, per location. About 17 of them are among the biggest e-commerce retailers in Spain.
The startup’s systems integrate with e-commerce sites. This means consumers can customize their delivery schedule at checkout, the company says.
Benito, CEO and co-founder, said: “The demand for convenient, timely and more sustainable delivery methods is going to explode in the years to come and Paack is providing the solution. We use technology to give consumers control and choice over their deliveries and reduce the carbon footprint of our distribution.”
Max Ohrstrand, Chief Investment Officer at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: “As the e-commerce industry continues to flourish and same-day delivery is increasingly the norm for consumers, we believe Paack is well-positioned to become a category leader both in terms of technology and commitment to sustainability.”
According to research by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the last mile delivery business is expected to grow by 78% by 2030, causing an increase in CO2 emissions of almost a third.
As a result, Paack says it intends to deliver all orders with zero net carbon, measuring its environmental impact, using electric last-mile delivery vehicles. It is now seeking certification with The Carbon Trust and the United Nations.
In an interview, Benito told me, “We have a very clear short-term vision which is to lead sustainable e-commerce deliveries in Europe… Our CTO was the CTO and co-founder of Google Cloud, for example.”
“We are developing everything from warehouse automation, time windows, routing integrations, etc. to get the best delivery experience.”
Paack says he can work with more than one robotics partner, but is currently using robots from Chinese company GEEK.
The company hopes to be able to compete with DHL, Instabox and La Poste in Europe, which are major competitors.