Tracking packages is a huge hassle for online vendors, especially for international shipments made with local post services. Once an item goes abroad, tracking often stops, and sellers and customers are left in suspense until the item (hopefully) reappears and is safely delivered.
AfterShip, which TechCrunch first profiled last year, solves that hassle by enabling lets vendors track multiple shipments through different carriers on the same platform. Originally targeted at small- to medium-sized businesses, AfterShip’s clients now include major e-commerce sites like Groupon Goods, Etsy, Wish, and Rocket Internet properties Zalora and Lamido.
The Hong Kong-based startup announced today that it has closed a $1 million Series A round from IDG Capital Partners (IDG-Accel), whose other investments include top Chinese Internet companies Baidu and Tencent.
AfterShip will use the funding to develop delivery analytics tools for sellers so they can see the performance of different carriers, track delayed shipments, and give more accurate delivery time estimates to customers.
“Every carrier says they are the fastest, but often when they promise a two-day shipment, the package doesn’t actually arrive in two days. It’s different across countries, for shipment types, or they are not being honest or doing as well as they say,” says Andrew Chan, CMO and co-founder of AfterShip. “We can give an objective view for carrier performance to the public and also merchants.”
AfterShip gives online sellers access to its shipment tracking APIs, which they can integrate into their site with a Track Button widget or as an app on e-commerce platforms Shopify , Bigcommerce, eBay, and Magento.
The company was founded in December 2011 and launched to the public in July 2013. Since then, it has integrated with 183 carriers around the world and has over 15,000 users. AfterShip says it currently tracks three million active shipments each month, with that amount growing 25% each month.
The platform is integrated with government-run postal services in 58 countries, which allows them to track shipments across countries. For example, if a package sent by the United States Postal Service is delivered to Hong Kong, AfterShip automatically continues to track it once it is in the hands of the Hong Kong Post. Once a package is delivered to its final address, vendors and customers are notified with an SMS text.
For large e-commerce companies, AfterShip saves them the work of having to visit each carrier’s site.
“In Groupon’s case, they use over 100 carriers. That is why they need a single solution because the carrier’s sites are not very technologically friendly and they need a single layer, like AfterShip, to integrate with them,” says Chan.