Two last-mile delivery firms have secured millions in investment funding as money continues to flow into the space.
On Wednesday, AxleHire announced it had closed a $20 million Series B funding round led by Ajax Strategies. Also Wednesday, Swyft announced it had secured a $17.5 million Series A round co-led by Inovia Capital and Forerunner Ventures.
AxleHire is based in Emeryville, California, and offers same-day and next-day delivery service. The new funding, which includes participation from Eclipse Ventures, Quiet Logistics, Bee Partners and Acorn Pacific Ventures, will be used to enhance its sortation technology, expand its network of locations and expand staff.
“Businesses need help navigating the new shift in consumer perception when it comes to delivery expectations, especially in a post-COVID-19 world,” said Adam Bryant, AxleHire CEO. “With this new investment from Ajax Strategies, we are primed to level the playing field when it comes to providing cost-effective, reliable same- and next-day delivery for a variety of shippers.”
AxleHire was founded by Daniel Sokolovsky, who had grown up working in his family’s courier business. Realizing that many of the tasks in the business were repetitive and required manual coordination, Sokolovsky used his math background from Berkeley and went to work on a solution with a group of engineers.
The result was AxleHire, which uses line haul and sortation components to improve the last-mile process. The company positions sortation hubs near major metro locations and utilizes a network of transportation providers, including traditional carriers, couriers and gig economy drivers, to make the final mile of e-commerce delivery seamless.
“We are very excited to support AxleHire’s climate-smart approach to same-day delivery,” said Milo Werner, partner at Ajax Strategies. “Leveraging dynamic routing to consolidate packages across vehicles allows AxleHire to offer the most affordable and lowest carbon same/next day logistics services.”
AxleHire is participating in the Zero Emissions Delivery Zone (ZEDZ) pilot in Santa Monica, California. The ZEDZ program has the support of many major companies, including Ikea, Guayaki, Alsco Uniforms, Foodcycle, Shopify and REEF Technology. The firms will voluntarily deploy and test zero-emission modes for last-mile delivery in Santa Monica’s downtown, Main Street and Ocean Park neighborhoods, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) said. Tech providers include LACI startups Automotus, Maxwell Vehicles, Circuit and FreeWire as well as collaborations with Coco, Kiwibot, Tortoise, Rollo, Blue Systems, Fluid Truck, Motiv Power Systems, Nissan, ROUSH CleanTech and Lightning eMotors.
AxleHire has secured $35.4 million in total funding, according to Crunchbase.
Swyft nets $17.5M
Like AxleHire, Swyft is seeking to revolutionize same- and next-day delivery. It has landed a $17.5 million Series A round co-led by Inovia and Forerunner Ventures, with additional participation from Shopify and existing investors Golden Ventures and Trucks VC.
Swyft has no assets but acts as a connector between retail brands and the end consumer, using logistics technology to optimize a courier’s workflow. The company, which has now raised $20.1 million in total funding, according to Crunchbase, has plenty of logistics experience behind it. Co-founders Aadil Kazmi, CEO, and Zeeshan Hamid, head of engineering, both spent time at Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) while Maraz Rahman, head of revenue, has extensive experience in startups and e-commerce.
Swyft’s technology drives e-commerce delivery business to couriers and optimizes those delivery operations, reducing cost approximately 25%, Kazmi told TechCrunch.
“Swyft’s platform is the only model designed to scale both sides of the marketplace without huge CapEx investments. We call this delivery via API. Technology is being substituted for labor and physical assets and their distinctive asset-light model and powerful network effects can solve the regional problem for SMBs and the national problem for enterprises,” wrote Hannah Chelkowski on the Inovia company blog.
Chelkowski said with e-commerce showing no signs of slowing, companies like Swyft offer the chance to “coordinate the chaos” of last-mile logistics.
“On the delivery side, they combine existing couriers to build a large virtual delivery fleet, provide real-time delivery updates via its carrier dashboard and multi-party optimized routing. On the product side, Swyft integrates into the checkout experience of SMBs offering dynamic delivery options regardless of the retailer’s fulfilment strategy (i.e. ship from store, warehouse, 3PL),” Chelkowski wrote.