London based e‑commerce startup Shutl has just bagged an additional $3.2 million in investment which it plans to use in aid of its forthcoming USA launch.
Having expanded spectacularly through the UK over the last twelve months, Shutl’s extra money came from sources old and new. Existing investors include Hummingbird Ventures and the strategic venture wing of UPS, while the rest came from new backers Notion Capital and e.ventures.
An ultra-fast Shutl
E‑commerce managers and e‑commerce analysts alike will be interested in Shutl’s unique angle, as the market is undoubtedly getting more crowded. Witness moves by big box stores like Staples and Home Depot to step into the e‑commerce space. Unlike fellow startup Beautylish, which is focusing on customer engagement as part of a longer-term m‑commerce strategy, Shutl makes a bold but simple promise. It will deliver any product paid for online either within a few minutes or inside any hour-long window chosen by the customer.
The genius touch lies in its web platform’s links with local same-day couriers. So far, its record is a delivery taking just 15 minutes after payment processing.
Scheduled for the first quarter of 2013, the stateside launch will be centered initially in San Francisco and New York. But thereafter comes ‘phase two’ of the firm’s US roll out and it has Washington, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta in its sights. And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s also heading for the Canadian cities of Toronto and Montreal.
Looking for pay-dirt in the USA
Shutl’s founder and CEO Tom Allason estimates that the US market alone will be worth approximately $26 billion by 2016, but it’s fair to say that his enterprise will be facing stiff competition. TaskRabbit and Postmates, startups already up and running on US soil, are also fighting hard to come out on top in the hyper-fast delivery market.
Every dollar Shutl can raise will be of help in its effort to debut in the land of Uncle Sam, but it’s not doing at all badly. Just over a month ago in August, it successfully raised $2 million toward the American launch. Over five million dollars in less than two months suggests that it’s talking its transatlantic challenge very seriously. Web content managers looking for a new opportunity might think about jumping aboard when it arrives.