Packform raises $25 million as COVID-19 drives demand for deals on packaging

Packform founders Preston Geeting, Philip Weinman and Peter Williams. Source: supplied.

Aussie startup Packform has raised $25 million for its marketplace that makes it easier for businesses to get a good deal on their packaging.

Founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneur Philip Weinman, Deloitte Digital founder Peter Williams and long-time packaging business exec Preston Geeting, Packform provides a three-way marketplace connecting customers, packaging suppliers and dealers.

The dealers go out to the market via the platform to secure the best pricing for packaging for business customers. The idea is the customers get the best pricing and a faster service, in a more transparent manner.

The funding comes from high-profile institutions such as Regal Funds Management, Wilson Asset Management and Thorney Investment Group.

This raise values the business at $150 million, ahead of a slated initial public offering in about six months’ time. By then the business is expected to be valued at $250 to $300 million, or more.

While based and almost entirely run from Australia, Packform currently only operates in the US.

In its first year, the business turned over about $1 million in revenue, Weinman tells SmartCompany. By the next year, that had increased to between $6 million and $7 million. By year three, Packform was looking at revenues of $40 million.

According to Weinman, the packaging industry is worth some $250 billion in the US alone.

“We’re trying to carve out a small percentage … which we’re doing fairly rapidly.”

Expansion on the cards

Weinman says Packform generates plenty of cash and didn’t necessarily need to raise capital.

However the funding allows the business to expand much more quickly ahead of the float, partly through hiring sales people.

The plan is also to bring more independent ‘dealers’ onto the platform, who can effectively run their own dealership businesses through Packform.

Weinman also plans to launch in Germany and on his home turf in Australia.

An IPO will raise the funds needed to fuel that growth even further, he says, allowing the business to expand into Europe and Asia.

Disrupting an industry technology forgot

Weinman calls packaging “the industry that technology forgot about”.

Traditionally, it has been a very manual-intensive space, leaving businesses chasing up orders, or waiting for their suppliers to have their packaging products in stock.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, meant many businesses had to quickly shift to selling products online, meaning packaging was suddenly a much more important part of their day-to-day operations.

At a time when businesses have faced so many challenges, it’s more important than ever to get a good deal on packaging, and a reliable service.

For Packform, which was founded just six months before the crisis hit, the timing has worked out.

“Any time you see a courier, they’re delivering something in a bag or a box,” Weinman says.

“COVID has built our business.”


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