By now, many of us are familiar with the warehouse robots that populate those vast spaces occupied by the likes of Amazon and others. In particular, Amazon was very much a pioneer of the technology. But it’s 2022 now, and allying warehouse robots with a software logistics platform is no longer the monopoly of one company.
One late-stage startup which has been “making hay” with the whole idea is Paack, an e-commerce delivery platform with a sophisticated software platform that integrates with the robotics that are essential to modern-day logistics operations.
It’s now raised €200 million ($225 million) in a Series D funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The capital will be used for product development and European expansion.
New participants for this round also include Infravia Capital Partners, First Bridge Ventures and Endeavor Catalyst. Returning investors include Unbound, Kibo Ventures, Big Sur Ventures, RPS Ventures, Fuse Partners, Rider Global, Castel Capital and Iñaki Berenguer.
This funding round comes after the creation of a profitable position in its home market of Spain, but Paack claims it’s on track to achieve similar results across its European operations, such as in the U.K., France and Portugal.
Founded by Fernando Benito, Xavier Rosales and Suraj Shirvankar, Paack now says it’s delivering several million orders per month (from 150 international clients), processing 10,000 parcels per hour, per site. Some 17 of them are amongst the largest e-commerce retailers in Spain.
The startup’s systems integrate with e-commerce sites. This means consumers are able to customize their delivery schedule at checkout, says the company.
Benito, CEO and co-founder, said: “Demand for convenient, timely, and more sustainable methods of delivery is going to explode over the next few years and Paack is providing the solution. We use technology to provide consumers with control and choice over their deliveries, and reduce the carbon footprint of our distribution.”
Max Ohrstrand, investment director at SoftBank Investment Advisers said: “As the e-commerce sector continues to flourish and same-day delivery is increasingly the norm for consumers, we believe Paack is well-positioned to become the category leader both in terms of its technology and commitment to sustainability.”
According to research from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the last-mile delivery business is expected to grow 78% by 2030, causing a rise in CO2 emissions of nearly one-third.
As a result, Paack claim it aims to deliver all parcels at carbon net-zero by measuring its environmental impact, using electric last-mile delivery vehicles. It is now seeking certification with The Carbon Trust and United Nations.
In an interview Benito told me: “We have a very clear short term vision which is to lead sustainable e-commerce delivers in Europe… through technology via what we think is perhaps the most advanced tech delivery platform for last-mile delivery. Our CTO was the CTO and co-founder of Google Cloud, for instance.”
“We are developing everything from warehouse automation, time windows, routing integrations etc. in order to achieve the best delivery experience.”
Paack says it is able to work with more than one robotics partner, but presently it is using robots from Chinese firm GEEK.
The company hopes it can compete with the likes of DHL, Instabox and La Poste in Europe, which are large incumbents.