Sydney-based startup Sendle has raised $5 million as it looks to further expand its reach across Australia and compete with the small business delivery “monopoly”.
The funding round was led by Full Circle Venture Capital and also saw Black Sheep Capital, rampersand and Giant Leap participate.
It follows from a $3 million round that the startup raised last year and Sendle founder and chief executive James Chin Moody says this time round it was all about proven traction.
“The big difference is that we’ve got a very significant business now with proven traction in the market,” Moody tells StartupSmart.
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“That gave us confidence to say, ‘here is the engine’, and raise the money.
“We’re absolutely delighted with our new investors. They’re not only aligned with our purpose but with our values as well.”
Moody says Sendle has enjoyed 20% month-on-month growth across the last year, and the capital injection will be used to continue this rapid expansion and further develop the startup’s tech platform.
“What we’re doing is really building a business that’s going to last,” he says.
“Australia deserves more competition, particularly around small business parcel delivery.
“We’ll be using the investment we’ve received to improve a lot of our core infrastructure to make sure we can continue to grow at 20% per month.”
A singular focus
The delivery space has become increasingly saturated recently, but Moody says he doesn’t view the likes of Shippit as direct competitors and prefers to set his sights on the biggest player: Australia Post.
“I think that we’re the ones that really focus on small business,” he says.
“Our users can send one thing and that’s very different from the point-to-point couriers. There are a few out there and they’re really designed for metro deliveries. Most of our deliveries are not in the same city, we’re sending parcels all over Australia.
“Other folks in this space are working on the last mile, the parcel pickup places. We see Sendle as the one that’s 100% focused on the needs of small business.
“Our biggest competitor is the post office, and they’ve largely got a monopoly in this space.”
Sendle now facilitates $100 million in small business commerce annually and he says this provides the driving purpose for the startup.
“Our purpose is to make small business delivery reliable, simple and affordable,” Moody says.
“We’re successful when our customers are successful. We love all these small businesses, they’re all using Sendle and the best thing is that we’re saving them both time and money.
“We’re creating an 100% solution for that group. The time has gone when you can be 80% good for everyone. We’re trying to make things to absolutely delight our small business customers.”
Focusing your energy
He says this singular focus on a specific goal and market is one of the keys to Sendle’s successful and a central challenge for other founders.
“The hardest thing about running a startup is knowing where to focus your energy,” Moody says.
“If you’re lucky enough to be in a market like ours with lots of opportunities and a monopoly provider there are a huge number of things you could be doing. The hardest thing is working out where to focus.”
And trying to focus all several different aspects of a business could lead to its downfall, Moody says.
“For startups the one thing you don’t have is time,” he says.
“If you aren’t focused you end up spending a little bit of time on everything when you really need a 100% solution for 20% of the market rather than a 20% solution for 100% of the market.
“You need to be saying no as much as you’re saying yes.
“We’ve wholeheartedly said yes to providing a beautiful delivery solution for small businesses.”