STORD, the on-demand warehousing startup, last week announced plans to bring 20-plus additional jobs to the Atlanta logistics market, following a strategic investment in the company by Tom Noonan, tech investor and founding partner of Atlanta-based VC firm TechOperators. This year has been a stellar year for STORD with revenue growth six-fold over the past six month.
It previously had raised $2.4 million in a seed round in April and in total has raised just under $3 million in 2018.
STORD provides logistics software for its customers to connect with warehouses and distribution centers for inventory storage. “We work with third-party independent warehouses who are our suppliers and deliver that capacity more efficiently to our customers through a single source inventory and analytics platform,” said Sean Henry, CEO of STORD. “This helps our customers manage their businesses and gives them the ability to ship and hold their product in warehouses across the globe.”
Henry contends that STORD stands out from the competition not just through its ability to provide on-demand warehousing options to clients, but also through the flexibility businesses receive through its platform. “You can open a new facility in under 24 hours - it could be for 5,000 pounds of storage a day, or 5,000 pounds a year, it really does not matter,” he said.
“We partner with our clients and assist them on network distribution through our platform that helps with inventory management, order management, analytics, KPIs and ultimately optimizes inventory flows through our asset-like network of warehouse distribution centers,” added Henry.
The key here is to digitize warehousing operations - processes that have traditionally worked through direct interaction with businesses looking out for storage space. “We have added software to the process of warehousing and distribution at a variety of levels - be it on efficiency, integration, or last-mile delivery space,” said Henry. “We can produce different business outcomes by digitizing distribution models and utilizing our network to get flexible and scalable warehousing.”
The idea behind STORD took shape when Henry was working in Germany for an automotive OEM manufacturer, where he witnessed issues related to supply chain visibility and unhindered access to capacity.
“As a B2B manufacturer, we didn’t have space, and we were using third-party warehouses to move our goods into storage. Every single time, the client manager or the facility manager would go down the street and sign a contract with the warehouse that was closest, to try to get the capacity and have a place for distributing our products,” he said. “It wasn’t very scalable as we had different contracts, different service levels, and even different KPIs. And because of this, we ran into a second problem - which was an insight into visibility.”
The opacity of warehousing operations led to companies losing track of their real-time inventory status, which pulls down delivery efficiency drastically. And as consumer demand grew, businesses had to contend with the increasingly relevant need to work alongside several third-party warehouses, rather than being content with their own warehousing possibilities. Henry pointed out the escalating numbers - “back in 2002, 56% of the enterprise were only using their own distribution centers, but by 2012, 87% of the enterprises were using third-party warehouses. Everyone wants to make their supply chain more nimble and dynamic, and we are really moving fast towards that.”
The visibility disconnect stems from the siloed approach that third-party warehouse providers take, as different brands look at warehouse management differently. STORD solved this by aggregating third-party warehouses on a single platform while providing inventory visibility and real-time order management - something that companies had struggled to achieve otherwise.
STORD has over 100 customers, their target clients being mid-market to large enterprise companies. With the strategic investment flowing in recently, the prospects are looking rosy. “Our primary goal right now is to staff up on engineering, customer support, and the sales division of our company,” said Henry. “The most exciting part at STORD is that we have the ability to make a large outsized impact in the warehousing market. We are lucky to have been in demand till date, and are expanding rapidly to scale up and onboard customers faster.”