A Q&A with ParcelBright founder and CEO Daniel Lipinski. The London-based startup, which offers businesses in the UK a ‘one stop’ package delivery platform, last week announced a $1 million Seed funding raise. Investors include Forward Partners, Talis Capital, Avonmore Developments and Howzat Partners. It was founded last year by Lipinski and CTO Carlos Vilhena.
SUB: Please describe ParcelBright and your primary innovation.
Lipinski: ParcelBright provides a one-stop parcel delivery solution for businesses of all sizes. We tailor rates to the size and requirements of each of our customers and use cutting-edge technology to help businesses sending anywhere from twenty to thousands of parcels a week.
We’re pleased to have some large high-street chains as customers, as well as many independent ecommerce stores for whom we provide end-to-end logistics via our products ParcelBright.com and ParcelBright Despatch. We also offer ParcelBright Shipping API for larger businesses which require a bespoke solution.
ParcelBright has been operational for over a year now, and was built using lean methodology. Hopefully that means our product is not only useful, but devoid of any unnecessary features. Customer validation all the way.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Lipinski: Our target market is any business sending regular parcels to their customers. We have primarily focused on working with ecommerce stores as we have created tools to enable them to swiftly book labels without having to manually type in delivery details.
Our customers range from boutique stores sending 30 parcels a week, to the largest second hand electronics company in the UK who have over 240 high-street locations and send thousands a week.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates ParcelBright from the competition?
Lipinski: As the UK is a relatively developed market for parcel delivery, there are quite a number of competitors, ranging from freight forwarding companies for businesses, to parcel brokerages who help individuals send one parcel. Due to the long-standing nature of the competition, they are stuck in a bygone era and are nowhere near able to provide solutions to where their customers are selling. What I mean by that is, its now even easier to create an online shop using Shopify or Magento and start selling straight away. It’s these merchants who require an immediate solution, integrated into those platforms, with a focus on speed and reliability.
The reason ParcelBright has grown so fast in a short spate of time is that we allow businesses to benefit from our large volume accounts with couriers, ParcelBright is able to offer heavily discounted pricing, and our technology means they can get sending faster. We are able to expertly manage all a business’s parcels, regardless of which sales channel it came from.
ParcelBright also handles all of our customer’s queries, instead of passing them on to various couriers. In that respect, we really do provide end-to-end logistics handling. This is a first within the logistics market, and has certainly been part of the reason we’ve grown so much in such a short period of time.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised $1 million in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Lipinski: In recent years, ecommerce sales in the UK has grown exponentially—however, many services providing support to that market haven’t been able to scale accordingly to suit the market’s needs. As such, SaaS products directly supporting online sales have gained great interest, and ParcelBright.com is just one of many easing the pain in the total sales cycle.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds, and do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Lipinski: Funds are primarily going to fill key roles within the company, such as our support functions. Being known as having great customer support means we have to have fast reaction times and real-time solutions. Whilst to further develop our product range, we have brought on top engineers.
Other territories are within our pipeline, so I am sure a round will be in place soon.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Lipinski: It took us a long time to come up with a name that we thought reflected the type of product we wanted to make. Initially, we focused around the word ‘parse,’ used in tech circles meaning to break down an item into smaller components—playing off the word and creating ‘Parsel’—to be read ‘parcel.’ However, this was far from user-friendly, and easy to misspell. After brainstorming, and obviously checking the name was free, we came upon ‘ParcelBright,’ with the emphasis on ‘bright’ to detail the versatility and advanced technology we have created.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Lipinski: The biggest challenges we have faced were around scalability. We’ve grown so quickly, and we’ve had to focus on constantly improving our systems on-the-fly to ensure we could cope with the growing amount of business we were handling. Being a startup, we were still putting in place best practices, so we had to work hard to make sure every customer experienced our full concierge service.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Lipinski: Revenue is based upon two main areas. Firstly, as we provide actual delivery services, revenue is derived from the price of said delivery—this could be a next day delivery or international delivery. Secondly, with our API and Despatch system, we charge a per-label fee if customers want to use their own accounts.
SUB: What are your goals for ParcelBright over the next year or so?
Lipinski: We set our expectations for the product very high, and have proven very quickly that we are a disruptive force within the industry. We’re certain that within the year, we will be the go-to providers of parcel delivery solutions for UK businesses. With our ParcelBright Shipping API allowing developers to send parcels from within their apps, and plugins for Shopify and Magento in the works, we’re sure to be delivering a parcel near you, soon.