Zenstores scores £400K to help online sellers ship

Always be shipping: Hot on the heels of Zeeqo acquiring London-based delivery startup ParcelBright, another company helping online sellers ship their wares has picked up funding.

Bristol, U.K.-based Zenstores, which offers cloud-based shipping software targeting the ‘long tail’ of e-commerce, is disclosing that it has raised £400,000 in seed funding led by Downing Ventures. The startup is also backed by incubator Webstart Bristol and is a graduate of the program.

Founded in January last year, Zenstores has developed a cloud-based offering that consolidates orders from e-commerce platforms and marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Shopify, and then automates the dispatch process with Royal Mail and other leading couriers. The idea is to significantly reduce the time it takes sellers to actually ship customer orders.

“E-commerce has become democratised over the last five to ten years and it’s never been easier to set up an online shop. However, making a success of it as a small business online is really tough,” says Zenstores co-founder and CTO Rob Ashcroft.

“You’ve got to stay on top of constantly evolving rules and regulations on eBay and Amazon etc., respond to customer enquiries and most importantly get the orders out the door! Just as we found, before long you’re spending all your time on admin and process, and none on the future of your business.”

Enter Zenstores, which, says Ashcroft, is entirely focused on solving the shipping problem. “Our platform automatically imports all orders from a seller’s various online shops, enables those orders to be sorted, filtered and batched, then shipments with couriers can be booked and delivery labels printed at the touch of a button. A manual process that once took a couple of hours a day and involved multiple tabs and arduous copy and pasting now takes less than a minute to complete.”

To that end, the startup says it’s enabled online sellers to dispatch over one million shipments in 2015, and plans to use the additional capital to add new integrations with marketplaces and couriers to its software and for marketing.

Meanwhile, Matt Penneycard, Head of Downing Ventures, says in a statement: “Zenstores has become an indispensable partner to online sellers and we are pleased to be continuing to back the team as they look to scale up operations and make their customers lives easier and their businesses more profitable.”