Coworking and warehouse space company Saltbox announced today the closing of a $35 million Series B led by Cox Enterprises and Pendulum. The news comes more than a year after Saltbox closed a $10.6 million Series A, bringing its total funding to $56 million.
As TechCrunch previously reported, Saltbox — which was founded in 2019 by Tyler Scriven, Maxwell Bonnie and Paul D’Arrigo — is a pioneer of what it calls “co-warehousing.” With more than 10 facilities across the country, it allows small businesses and e-commerce outfits to ship and store goods all in one place. There are no lease requirements, and the company also offers integrated logistics services, like equipment rental.
Scriven, the company’s CEO, told TechCrunch that the company plans to use the extra capital to open at least three more locations, with two of those to open by the end of the year. The new Saltboxes are set to be situated in Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix. The company also wants to invest in software to create a more seamless logistics ecosystem.
“We’ve made a lot of progress over our first three years in physical infrastructure and service, and we are now going to increase our focus on software,” Scriven told TechCrunch. “Our goal is to create a frictionless end-to-end logistics ecosystem that is incredibly accessible and approachable to small businesses.”
Saltbox also faces the changing tides of the real estate and e-commerce markets. The former is up, while the latter is seeing a bit of a slowdown. Scriven said both situations helped businesses realize the need for Saltbox as they faced supply chain and logistics quandaries and the financial challenges of keeping a business afloat.
“Our customers made it clear to us that Saltbox was essential,” Scriven said, adding that the company hopes to educate and tap into the rising crop of digital entrepreneurs on the importance of having an ordered flow of logistics.
“One of the principal ways through which we are expanding our brand presence and brand awareness is through filling that knowledge gap,” he said. “Becoming not only an operational vendor and partner to these companies, but also a source of knowledge and inspiration, a source of confidence to approach this critically important aspect of their business.”
Saltbox’s Series B comes at the end of what has been a daunting year for Black founders. TechCrunch previously reported that Black founders raised just 0.43% — or $187 million — of the nearly $43 billion in venture capital allocated this Q3. Scriven and Bonnie, who are Black, represent outliers in a year that saw many VCs retreat to their old networks amid an economic downturn.
Scriven said it took about four months to close this round and said the company heard “far more nos than yesses.” He added, though, that having an established reputation, good product fit and resilience helped carry them through.
Saltbox already had an established relationship with its investors. Approaching new investors is difficult during challenging economic times, Scriven noted, which is why it was imperative to lean into their existing network.
“I feel very fortunate to not only have gotten this round done but also to have gotten it down with really phenomenal investors that we know well and trusted,” Scriven continued.
Robbie Robinson, the CEO and co-founder of Pendulum, said that Scriven and the Saltbox team have managed to tap a “strategic and unique opportunity” that sits at the “intersection of community and shared services in warehousing, inventory management and fulfillment.”
“This is evident in the company’s growth, and its ongoing expansion across geographies speaks to the high demand for this differentiated bundling of services,” Robinson said. “I am excited to join Saltbox’s board of directors and continue Pendulum’s partnership with the team as they establish an infrastructure that supports emerging and fast-growing small to medium businesses that power our economy.”
“With its mission to power the next generation of entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale, Saltbox is a great partner to help continue Cox’s mission to contribute to the economic well-being of an increased number of businesses and their employees,” Evelyn Bolden, the senior director of strategy and investments for Cox Enterprises, said. “Saltbox is committed to helping e-commerce owners get the most out of their business in a community-focused workspace.”
Others in the round include Playground Global, Kapor Capital and Lincoln Properties West.
Scriven said he hopes to stay focused on making the most impact he can. That means the company will double down on its mission to help small businesses adapt to the ever-changing retail economic landscape because, as Scriven puts it, “when small businesses are threatened, the core of our economy is threatened.”
“It’s a basic necessity to ensure that SMBs have access to a highly accessible, highly approachable, human-centric logistics platform that can really meet them where they are and ensure they remain not only competitive but ultimately thrive,” Scriven said. “This is a problem that must be solved, and it is not optional to solve the problem.”