Weengs, the U.K. logistics startup for e-commerce businesses that need a more convenient way of getting online orders to customers, has raised £6.5 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is venture capital firm Oxford Capital, with Weeng’s seed investors, including Local Globe, Cherry Ventures and VentureFriends, following on.
Founded by Alex Christodoulou and Greg Zontanos, Weengs provides small and medium-sized online stores of various kinds, including eBay and Amazon power sellers and brick ‘n’ mortar stores with an e-commerce component, with a “ship-from-store” logistics solution that handles collection, packing and delivery.
The basic premise is that time costs money, which can make e-commerce quite prohibitive. By outsourcing time-consuming and labour-intensive logistics, store owners can put their time into other more profitable and differentiating aspects of their business, such as sales and marketing, and customer experience.
To make this work, Weengs collects orders daily from retailers’ stores, and professionally packs them back at the Weengs warehouse before they are shipped to customers via the couriers with which the company partners.
Weengs says it can pack and ship globally a broad range of products, including less-obvious items such as plants, musical instruments and electronics and everyday items like cosmetics. It has developed algorithms to pick the most appropriate courier service based on the item and customer priorities.
“Our business is part of the rising omnichannel opportunity we are seeing in retail,” says Pier Ronzi, Weengs’ more recently added co-founder and CEO. “Increasingly, it makes sense for retailers to ship-from-store. Basically cities and stores are becoming distributed inventories that retailers can leverage to increase their business and Weengs helps them [by] offering a one-stop-shop solution for their fulfillment while they can focus on their core activity.”
Since Weengs’ seed round, the team has grown to 70 people and saw Ronzi, who previously worked at McKinsey & Co., join the company. The startup now has around 400 retailers as customers and says it has fulfilled more than 500,000 online orders to date.
“We have learnt that our service saves retailers a huge amount of time and that is the key to our value proposition versus, for example, price,” says Ronzi. Prior to Weengs, customers typically handled fulfillment themselves or used costly fulfillment centres.
To that end, Weengs says it will use the new funding to invest heavily in its new warehouse and accompanying automation and technology. The plan is to “supercharge” operations to be able to fulfill more than 15,000 e-commerce orders per day.
Explains the Weengs CEO: “The packing operations today is mainly manual. In the new automated warehouse we are implementing a process governed by our software and leveraging a packing machine that automatically performs the packing operations: the order item is fed to the machine and, at the end of a quick automated process, the order comes out packed in a very high standard and bespoke box, labelled and ready to be handed over to the carriers. The process becomes heavily automated but we still add the human touch for value-added activities such as preparation of fragile items and supervision of the whole process.”