Startups

Shippo raises a $30M Series C after posting rapid 2019 growth

Comment

Image Credits: Getty Images

Early this afternoon Shippo, a shipping software and services company, announced that it has closed a $30 million Series C. The funding round roughly doubles the capital that the firm has raised to-date, from a little over $29 million to just under $60 million.

The round, however, wasn’t put together recently. As is often the case with funding events, Shippo raised its capital a while back and is only announcing it now. According to its CEO, Laura Behrens Wu, her startup started raising its Series C in late Q4 2019, with the capital hitting its accounts the day after Christmas. So, Shippo started 2020 well capitalized, and should have a comfortable capital base heading into this year’s economic uncertainty.

The funding round was led by a new investor, D1 Capital Partners, and participated in by a number of prior investors including Uncork Capital (which led a 2014 Seed investment into the company), Union Square Ventures (which led the company’s Series A in 2016) and Bessemer (which led its 2017 Series B).

Growth, margins

Shippo sits between retailers and consumers, helping sellers ship goods to buyers quickly and, it promises, inexpensively. The startup works with nearly five dozen shipping partners around the world, and plugs into the merchant worlds of Amazon, Shopify, Wix and others.

Like a number of successful startups, Shippo is trying to take something that is complex, and make it simple while generating revenue along the way. There are a number of loose examples we can lean on. For example, Plaid took all the complexity of talking to different financial institutions and shoved it into an accessible API. Twilio did something similar for telephony. Stripe made payments simple for others to integrate. You get the idea. Shippo wants to the same for shipping.

How SaaS startups should plan for a turbulent Q2

So far its model has good momentum. Heading into its funding round the firm had doubled (“100% growth,” Behrens Wu) in the preceding year, the sort of expansion that investors covet. It’s never bad to raise on the back of aggressive growth, as Shippo’s Series C shows; the company’s new valuation is “slightly higher” than TechCrunch’s estimate of $150 million, according to its CEO.

And even more, Shippo’s hybrid software and sales model (it charges for access to its shipping software and generates revenue from select shipping spend) creates attractive economics. Shippo’s gross margins are right around 80%, according to the startup, putting the company in the middle-upper tier of SaaS firms. Its growth isn’t based on the upselling shipping by a few points at volume; Shippo does have venture-ready economics.

It might seem odd to stress that point, but after WeWork’s implosion, it’s worth checking to make sure that startups raising as if they have strong revenue quality actually do.

Shippo has big aspirations, as you’d expect. “When you think about shipping software,” Behrens Wu told TechCrunch during an interview, “most people, even in tech, can’t name a single shipping software company, but everyone can name one or two payment companies. Everyone knows PayPal, Stripe, maybe Adyen or Braintree.” She wants to make Shippo as well known for shipping as Stripe is for payments.

There was secular movement towards her vision even before the pandemic. Today, online shopping — the grist for Shippo’s mill — is even more important. And it’s likely to become even more so over time, if growth shown by Amazon and Shopify in recent quarters is any indication of what’s to come, which means that the market for Shippo’s services will grow in time, and it’s always easier to grow in an expanding market than to claw for share in a stagnant pool.

Finally, in addition to its new capital and raised valuation, Shippo also announced that it has hired Catherine Stewart, former chief business officer at WordPress juggernaut Automattic, to be its COO. If Shippo is hiring a COO now, then we expect to see a CFO added around the time of its Series D. And then we get to start annoying the company about its IPO timeline.

Shippo is one of the lucky startups that raised right before the world changed. Now it’s up to the startup to conserve cash while continuing to grow while the global economy struggles. Let’s see how it performs.

More TechCrunch

Ahead of the AI safety summit kicking off in Seoul, South Korea later this week, its co-host the United Kingdom is expanding its own efforts in the field. The AI…

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

9 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities