eBay And Rubbermaid Put $6 Million In Order Fulfillment Company Shipwire

Shipwire, a company that offers retail businesses a service for order fulfillment, has received a strategic investment from e-commerce giant eBay and Newell Rubbermaid, the company behind the Calphalon, Rubbermaid and Goody brands. Existing investor
Meakem Becker Venture Capital also participated in the round. While the company declined to reveal the investment amount, we hear the round’s value is $6 million.

For online merchants, the process of selling and delivering a product can be complicated. Sellers need to know where all of their available inventory is at one time (a seller may have multiple channels where inventory is being shipped from). Once retailers knows where this inventory is, they have to display the lowest possible shipping rate to a buyer. The entire process can be complicated to automate via software. Instead, many merchants can outsource all of this Shipwire.

The company’s SaaS platform gives businesses on-demand access to warehouses in the U.S., Canada and Europe allowing merchants to access inventory closer to buyers so that they can cut shipping costs and delivery times.

The startup’s newest product, Shipwire Anywhere, allows merchants to manage inventory and route orders to anyplace a seller has inventory stored e.g. a warehouse, garage, office closet, retail store, storage unit. The application essentially allow SMBs to manage orders and inventory regardless of where it is sold or where it is stored. The only cost associated with this inventory and order management software is the cost to actually print out the labels through Shipwire.

Shipwire is currently being used by Rovio to ship its Angry Bird merchandise.

eBay as a strategic investor is a big validation for Shipwire’s technology. And the investment is interesting considering that eBay’s competitor Amazon is also a competitor with Shipwire. Amazon offers its Fulfillment by Amazon service, which allows online merchants to outsource their shipping to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Interestingly, eBay is planning to launch its own fulfillment service later this year, and I wonder if Shipwire and eBay will become competitors when this happens (or eBay could just acquire Shipwire).

The new funding, says Shipwire, will be used for the expansion of the Shipwire global warehouse network into new countries, and for additional product development efforts.

As part of the investment, a Rubbermaid exec and Jean-Francois Van Kerckhove, Vice President and Head of Corporate Strategy at eBay, will join Shipwire’s advisory board. And the former president of FedEx Ground, Ivan Hoffman, will also join the Shipwire board of directors.