The round is led by Stride.VC, with participation from Hearst Ventures. Existing investors, including Episode 1, Maersk Growth, Ada Ventures, and True Capital all followed on, bringing Huboo’s funding to £18 million to date.
Launched in November 2017 by Martin Bysh and Paul Dodd after the pair had run a number e-commerce experiments, Huboo aims to solve the fulfilment pain point that most online stores face. Using what it calls a “micro-warehousing” and a vertical software model, the full-stack service promises to store your stock, and then “pick, pack and deliver it” automatically as customer orders are placed.
The Huboo dashboard provides stock control, order tracking and billing information. It is also integrated with third-party sales channels and marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay and Shopify. This enables Huboo to directly receive and process its customers’ orders in real-time.
The idea is that by “democratising” fulfilment, online shops can focus on the parts of the business where most value is added, such as customer service and choosing which products to develop and/or sell.
“The vast majority of independent retailers are currently moving online,” says Huboo CEO Martin Bysh. “The pandemic has provided the catalyst for a mass shift into multi-channel commerce over the next five years”.
In addition, he says the direct-to-consumer (D2C) “revolution” is rapidly gaining pace, “with a new breed of agile young D2C businesses bypassing conventional retail channels to engage directly with consumers”. At the same time, retail fulfilment is becoming more complex as customers continue to demand faster delivery times.
“The composition of supply chains is changing due to the pandemic, with retailers forced to pay more attention to where they’re sourcing their products and how to build more robust supply chains,” adds Bysh.
To that end, Huboo will use the new funding to support what its CEO describes as three strategic priorities: software development, U.K. expansion, and establishing an on-the-ground European presence as Brexit hardens.
This will see Huboo increase its software development team ten-fold in the next year to further expand the capabilities of its fulfilment software platform. To support client growth, the startup will also be opening a third U.K. warehouse in October 2020 with a fourth warehouse planned to open in January 2021.