The largest fulfillment providers in the world from Amazon to DHL have begun embracing electric vehicles. But EVs still comprise only a small portion of the largest fleets, which won’t be enough to move the needle toward their ambitious sustainability goals.
For companies that entered the transportation and logistics space in the last half decade, sustainability was more than just a perk. In the past few years, it has become a borderline prerequisite because consumers value it so highly — even more than speedy delivery.
Toronto-based GoBolt is one of those firms. On Wednesday the company announced securing $55 million in funding to build out its all-electric fleet and grow operations in the U.S. The raise brings GoBolt’s total funding to about $163 million.
Yaletown Venture Partners and Export Development Canada led the Series C round, which also included participation from BDC Capital, Northleaf Capital, Whitecap Venture Partners, MIG Group, BMO Capital Partners and Ingka Investments.
“GoBolt has always taken pride in being an innovative force within an antiquated industry,” said Mark Ang, CEO and co-founder of GoBolt. “We’re constantly keeping an eye on what’s next while also creating a more sustainable future for the logistics industry. This round of funding will help us lean farther into the areas we’re already leading, such as our proprietary technology and growing electric fleet. It will also enable us to embrace other innovations changing our industry like warehouse automation.”
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Founded in 2017, GoBolt expanded its sustainable last-mile network to the U.S. in May. The company serves customers in Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Atlanta and New York City, among others.
In September, it launched a small parcel delivery service in both the U.S. and Canada. Previously, the company specialized in big and bulky orders, but it acquired same-day delivery startup BoxKnight in June to move into smaller orders.
By the end of 2023, GoBolt expects to be fully carbon negative, meaning it will remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits. For comparison, UPS aims to be carbon neutral — characterized by net-zero emissions rather than net-negative — by 2050.
Though its fleet is smaller than that of a carrier like UPS or FedEx, GoBolt’s ability to offer short-term sustainability has helped it carve out a niche in the logistics market. Between this year and last, the firm more than doubled its revenue and established itself as the go-to sustainable fleet provider for retailers like Ikea and Frank and Oak.
“The ability to provide carbon negative, high-capacity solutions, seamlessly integrated with merchant operations is resonating with North American brands,” said Eric Bukovinsky, partner at Yaletown Partners. “The quality of its product, the scale of its network capacity and the industry know-how to provide these solutions positions GoBolt in a unique class within the logistics space.”
Now, it’s ready to step things up a notch.
In addition to spurring growth in U.S. markets and improving its fleet with more vehicles and charging stations, GoBolt will also invest in enhancements to its robotics and warehouse automation technology. That should boost efficiency at the company’s nine fulfillment centers, four of which are in the U.S.
The funding will also be used to support growth in Canadian markets, namely Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver. In May, the company said it was looking at the U.K. and Australia as possible locations for expansion, but those markets were not mentioned in Wednesday’s announcement.
In the U.S., GoBolt will look to steal market share from Amazon, which in July rolled out custom EVs from Rivian and later revealed they now operate in over 100 American cities. And just this week, DHL announced it would purchase about 2,000 electric delivery vans from Ford, including 45 already on the road in California.