Aussie small business-focused courier startup Sendle has delivered itself into the US market, just in time for the Christmas rush. And while the silly season could bring big business, there’s also serious pressure to perform.
Founded in 2015, Sendle has made it its mission to compete with Australia Post on price, and provide a better postage option for Aussie businesses.
In January this year, it raised $20 million in Series B funding, to double down on its presence Down Under, and to expand overseas.
Now, co-founder and chief James Chin-Moody has made the move, launching in US mainland states, but only after some careful consideration.
“You don’t make a leap like this without thinking a lot about it,” he tells StartupSmart.
It’s the Christmas period, meaning, really, Sendle needs to nail this.
“There is a lot of pressure on getting it right.”
But, having cut its teeth in the notoriously tricky Aussie delivery market, the startup has learnt a few lessons, and is in good stead, says Chin-Moody.
“I don’t think anything is ever easy,” he says.
“But I do think we have a massive advantage being an Australian company, because logistics in Australia are hard.
“It’s a big country with a dispersed population. It’s taught us a lot of things, and I think it puts us in really good stead to translate a lot of those lessons over to the US.”
The United States is, obviously, a considerably bigger market. And one where there are a fair few other startups operating in the delivery and courier space — plus, of course, e-commerce gargantuan Amazon.
But Chin-Moody isn’t worried about the competition.
“There are a lot of choices you make when you focus on one part of the market,” he explains.
“We don’t see anyone who is 100% focused on small businesses and microbusinesses … and we think the model translates very well.”
Equally, as a registered B-Corp and, Chin-Moody says, the only 100% carbon-offset delivery company in either Australia or the US, Sendle is well placed to cash in on a shift in consumer sentiment.
The startup is striving to approach the market with something arguably scarce in Silicon Valley: social responsibility.
“Your licence to operate is really fundamental to what you do as a business,” he says.
“So, you have to treat people fairly, you have to take responsibility for your emissions, you need to think really deeply about your supply chain and the impact you have for customers.”
At the same time, more and more people are now inclined to purchase a brand that aligns with their own values. Being able to offset the carbon footprint of their delivery could be a big draw for consumers to purchase from SMEs using Sendle. That’s good for the merchants and, in turn, for the startup.
“We don’t do it just because it’s the right thing to do,” Chin-Moody says.
“Good business is basically linked to high-integrity business, and how you do that. That’s about building business for the long term.”