Thanks to major players like Amazon and Walmart, we’ve become accustomed to next- or same-day delivery. But the pandemic has also renewed our interest in buying from smaller businesses and retailers.
Swyft, a company that has just raised $17.5 million in a Series A, helps retailers of any size provide affordable same-day delivery. The round was co-led by Inovia Capital and Forerunner Ventures, with participation from Shopify and existing investors Golden Ventures and Trucks VC.
Swyft is a marketplace, connecting a network of shipping carriers with vendors. But the company also provides software to those carriers to make them more efficient, and turns them into a vast network that allows them to pick up more inventory without adding to their infrastructure.
In other words, several regional carriers may play a part in delivering a parcel shipped via Swyft without making any big changes to their original routes or adding new drivers, trucks, etc.
To date, major players in both shipping and retail have dominated this space, thanks in large part to their ability to deliver quickly. Swyft is looking to amass an army, for lack of a better term, comprised of all of the smaller players, including mom and pop retailers and vendors as well as smaller, regional carriers. Banded together through software, these carriers and retailers can match the scale and influence of the behemoths without spending a fortune.
Swyft was co-founded by Aadil Kazmi (CEO), Zeeshan Hamid (head of Engineering) and Maraz Rahman (head of Sales). Kazmi and Hamid both spent their careers at Amazon, working on data and last-mile operations for the behemoth. Rahman was an early employee at a YC-backed proptech startup.
The trio started asking themselves early last year why retailers weren’t able to offer same-day delivery and chose to tackle the gap they discovered.
The key ingredient to Swyft is not its aggregation of couriers, but the software it provides to them. Because Swyft is increasing demand for these carriers, it also needs to make them more efficient. The back-end software allows carriers to digitize or automate a good deal of what they’re traditionally doing by hand.
Kazmi says that Swyft is able to come in anywhere between 25-30% cheaper than the incumbent option.
“I don’t know what percent of your purchases are from Amazon, but for me it’s like 150%,” said Eurie Kim. “I’d prefer to buy elsewhere with the pandemic, and support local and independent brands, but Amazon’s trained us all to have fast and free shipping. It feels like an opportunity where the consumer experience is really lacking and the burden on merchants and retailers is extremely heavy.”
Swyft currently has 16 full-time employees; 12% percent are female and 75% are people of color, according to the company.
Since April 2020, Swyft has facilitated the delivery of more than 180,000 packages, and expanded gross margin from 78% to 82%, thanks in large part to revenue from the software side of the business and a zero-asset model.