FLEXE: Infrastructure for the eCommerce Industry
April 7, 2021 | Ashley Brindamour
Since launching in 1994, Amazon has grown into the largest eCommerce platform in the world. While Amazon has maintained rapid revenue growth, COVID-19 accelerated the company’s profits by nearly 200% in 2020. As larger retailers have put pressure on their own logistics services to keep pace, it’s become clear that traditional fulfillment solutions fall short.
Alumni Ventures portfolio company FLEXE offers a flexible, on-demand warehousing product enabling enterprises to fulfill orders at Amazon Prime-like speeds. The company’s marketplace solves inventory overflow and fulfillment needs by connecting retailers and brands requiring warehousing and fulfillment services with warehouse operators with open capacity. The solution enables enterprises to strengthen their distribution networks and warehouse providers to maximize revenue potential.
Skilled Team & Significant Traction
The general warehousing and storage market is expected to reach a value of nearly $296 billion by 2022, opening a significant market opportunity for FLEXE. Labeled the “AirBnB of warehousing” by some media outlets, the company has already seen impressive traction among big-box retailers (Walmart, Kroger, Lowe’s) and experienced 33x revenue growth from 2016 to 2020.
With extensive logistics and fulfillment experience from Amazon and Microsoft, FLEXE’s team — led by Karl Siebrecht (Duke ’90, Tuck ’96) — is positioned to be an impactful company in the logistics space long term. Additionally, CTO David Glick previously spent 20 years at Amazon building critical parts of its retail and operations technology, including Amazon’s warehouse management system.
Alumni Ventures’ Involvement and Funding Usage
FLEXE was the first investment in Alumni Ventures’ Green D (for Dartmouth alumni and friends of the community) Fund 7. Green D and sibling funds Blue Ivy Ventures (for Yale alumni and friends of the community) and Triphammer Ventures (for Cornell alumni and friends of the community) deployed capital in FLEXES’ $80 million Series C round led by T. Rowe Price in December 2020. Additional investors include Redpoint Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Acequia Capital, Activate Capital, Madrona Venture Group, and Second Avenue Partners.
FLEXE will use the $80 million of total Series C funding to invest in its team and technology, building solutions that help enterprise-class retailers and brands better execute flexible omnichannel operations.