For Melbourne-based startup Market Engine, an investment from one of the biggest postal agencies in the world is about credibility as much as the money.
Royal Mail has completed a “multi-million dollar investment” in the market management service, and Market Engine co-founder Nathan Ruff says it’s fantastic to have a company with such a big reputation come on board.
“It’s a great endorsement,” Ruff says.
“It feels fantastic to have such multinational support.”
“We’re a little company about to get a lot bigger, but getting a company of that size and reputation to back us fills us with confidence.”
The Market Engine service facilitates cross-border trade for various brands, providing back-end management systems for ecommerce platforms especially looking to focus on the giant China market.
While Ruff can’t reveal the actual investment or the valuation it placed on the startup, Royal Mail are one of the biggest postal service providers in Europe and it’s big news that they’re backing a small Aussie tech startup.
Business is going postal
It all started after Market Engine provided some work to the UK postal service, Ruff says.
“We pitched in some work for those guys, and they must’ve liked what they saw,” he says.
The capital injection will be going towards the startup’s continual expansion into international markets, building its team, and further developing the platform.
Royal Mail Parcels managing director Nick Landon says the two companies can help each other.
“We think we can leverage our scale and expertise to help Market Engine expand and accelerate its entrance into new markets, while identifying opportunities to incorporate its technology solutions within Royal Mail’s existing operations,” Landon says.
It’s not the first time the Aussie startup has worked with postal services, having already collaborated with Australia Post, Canada Post and Post Nord.
“Postal services can see the opportunity, with a massive China market sitting on our doorstep,” Ruff says.
“They see the opportunity to increase parcel delivery in that element, particularly cross-border, and they’re good at acting as a gateway into that market.
“They can offer small-to-medium sized merchants the opportunities to be exposed to 300 million new customers, and provide the destination to do so.”
Helping retailers unlock huge global markets
Market Engine focuses on helping brands launch an online ecommerce presence in China, and Ruff says this can be a very difficult process.
“It’s very labour intensive and there are a lot of issues culturally and with language,” he says.
“Our product enables brands in real-time to transparently manage their retail presence across a China ecommerce platform.”
The service can enable brands to centrally manage numerous online shopping fronts across large Chinese ecommerce sites like Alibaba’s Tmall and JD, and then sell directly to consumers in the China market.
The startup launched late last year, with a $1.2 million private investment that helped get it off the ground.
It’s the latest in a long line of successes for Market Engine this year, which is enjoying “double-figure” revenue growth.
With offices in Australia, Europe and China, it’s also looking to establish bases in the UK, Canada and New Zealand in the near future.
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