European online package shipping marketplace startup PackLink has pulled in $9 million in Series B funding, led by Accel Partners. Existing investor Active Venture Partners also participated in the round. PackLink’s total raised funding to-date now totals $11 million.
The Spanish startup was founded in early 2012, with a mission to simplify the complexity of finding the best priced shipping provider to deliver a particular parcel by building a marketplace/metasearch platform where senders can pin down the best service for their needs.
It has since expanded to offer its service in Germany, France and Poland, with some two million customers using its platform to send parcels in the past 12 months.
PackLink is planning to use the funding to ramp up its operational footprint, with imminent launches planned for Italy and Mexico, and additional markets — including the UK — on the cards soon after.
Asked about the US, it says it’s considering a launch in the US “in the near future”, but is kicking off its international efforts in Mexico.
The platform currently offers price, delivery speed and service level comparison across more than 20 courier partners worldwide. Users can also print their shipping labels and track packages within the platform.
PackLink touts its ability to deliver users savings of up to 70% on the cost of each shipment, based on the ability to cross reference the service offerings of multiple shipping providers.
In addition to ramping up its consumer business, PackLink is also planning to launch a dedicated business-focused offering — to be called PackLink Pro. The new funding round will help to accelerate that launch, it said today.
The b2b cloud platform will integrate with a business’ operational systems to automate the shipping process for them. It will also enable them to offer customer-centric features such as shipping notifications, tracking and returns management via PackLink’s platform.
On the b2b side, PackLink is effectively gunning to become a shipping layer that offers smaller ecommerce outlets an “Amazon-level of service to their customers” — as it puts it — thereby offering them the promise of competing more effectively with the web’s e-tail behemoths.
“We have a few competitors in each of our markets, but no-one has managed to create a global hub for online parcel delivery,” says PackLink’s CEO Ben Askew-Renaut, when asked about the competitive landscape for PackLink.
“The ‘metasearch’ space that has proven so successful in many industries (flights, travel, car rental for example) is still totally unexplored as far as shipping is concerned.”