The Seattle startup operates an online marketplace that helps companies rent warehouse space when and where they need it.
Seattle startup Flexe may help your online purchases get delivered faster.
The startup is announcing Thursday it has raised $14.25 million from investors to operate an online marketplace that helps companies rent warehouse space when and where they need it.
Businesses can forgo long-term warehouse leases and choose to store inventory for however long they want in a nearby warehouse with open space. Flexe’s website displays the prices for both loading and unloading pallets, as well as for storing the goods at individual warehouses.
CEO Karl Siebrecht co-founded the company after a friend who ran a Seattle wholesale business, True Brands, expressed frustration about the inefficiency of storing goods. Shipments were not always the same size, and the friend wanted more flexible options.
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“For a lot of businesses, inventory levels are either variable or unpredictable,” Siebrecht said.
Flexe’s Series A funding round was led by Menlo Park, Calif.-based Redpoint Ventures.
The 3-year-old company has raised more than $20 million total, including a seed round from institutional angel investors.
Flexe’s software has more than 350 warehouse customers and is available in 45 markets across the U.S. and Canada.
Flexe marks up each warehouse listing by about 20 percent for its cut.
Amazon.com has changed how consumers think about deliveries, Siebrecht said. People are trained to expect their purchases quickly, with little or no shipping cost. The company’s software will help make logistics more efficient, he said.
“In the last 10 to 15 years, chiefly due to the rise of e-commerce, supply chains have turned into growth weapons because the faster you can deliver goods to consumers, the more competitive you can be,” he said.
Flexe does have a couple of restrictions. The company imposes a 30-day, 50-pallet minimum, or a $500 minimum. After 30 days, the cost to store items is prorated.
Siebrecht, an aQuantive and Microsoft veteran, plans to expand the company’s 20-person team by nearly 30 employees in the next year.
Fellow Seattle startup Convoy is also working to bring technology and the so-called sharing economy to logistics services.
Convoy, which connects trucking companies with businesses that need freight moved, raised $16 million in March.