Shutl, the ambitious UK-based business-to-consumer express delivery company, has raised a further $3.2m to support its international expansion plans.
The London-based company offers delivery of products bought online or from a retail store in as little as 90 minutes from purchase time, or within a one-hour time-definite window.
This summer Shutl attracted investment from UPS as it revealed plans to launch its services in the United States in early 2013.
Yesterday Shutl revealed it has brought two new investors on board – early-stage venture capital fund e.ventures and Notion Capital – providing $3.2m in equity to support the US launch.
Shutl, which only launched in 2010, is essentially an aggregator of existing point-to-point express courier companies, linking them into a national network with a smart IT system.
The company specialises in rapid deliveries particularly where merchants have local stock availability, such as from brick-and-mortar stores. For a premium fee, often subsidised merchants seeking to impress customers, Shutl couriers deliver items individually, rather than on a regular delivery round, allowing for speedy delivery.
Shutl currently delivers to about 65% of UK households, for merchants including Argos, Aurora Fashions, Karen Millen and Maplin, and is currently gearing up with expectations of a bumper festive season ahead.
Plans for the US involve launching in urban centres, starting with New York and San Francisco, providing an additional delivery option for multi-channel retailers. A second phase would see the service added to cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, Montreal and Toronto.
Shutl believes it is chasing a $26bn market in the US and that consumers there are looking for faster delivery of their retail purchases.
The company is eyeing interest from the likes of Amazon and eBay in same-day delivery within key American markets.
Tom Allason, the Shutl founder and CEO, said the new investors, along with existing investors, were supporting the company’s efforts to “build a brand that changes delivery forever”.
“e.ventures and Notion Capital have a wealth of experience as both investors and entrepreneurs launching disruptive web-services all over the world,” he said.
e.ventures – founded in 1998 known as BV Capital Rebrands until this July – has a particular specialty in investing in new media and digital businesses – including companies like Angie’s List, del.icio.us and Groupon.
e.ventures partner Andreas Haug said his company was “convinced” of the ability of innovative logistics concepts to generate growth for ecommerce.
“In addition, offline retail will benefit from these solutions, which allows local retailers to acquire and retain customers online,” he said. “Shutl is the pioneer in this segment and perfectly positioned to enter international markets.”
UK-based Notion Capital invests in internet-based services like cloud computing and software-as-a-service businesses, but has been focused on business-to-business companies in the past.
Jos White, a partner at Notion, said Shutl was a “great fit” for his company’s portfolio because it was looking for fast-growing internet-based businesses “with the potential to disrupt large, often complacent markets”.
“Shutl provides an innovative solution to the ‘last mile’ delivery challenge, giving customers the products they want, when they want them,” said White.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be making this investment and believe they can build both a large and global business.”