Byrd receives $56 million to grow its European e-commerce logistics and fulfillment network as an alternative to Amazon.

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Shopify drew attention to the role and importance of logistics and fulfillment in eCommerce when bought Deliverr last week for $2.1 billion. to directly gain a foothold in providing these services to their e-commerce customers a la Amazon. Now a promising start-up in Europe has completed a funding round to spur its own growth. birdwhich is building a network of operations that provide warehousing, shipping services and software for its e-commerce clients to manage it all, has raised $56 million in a Series C funding round.

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Cambridge Capital is leading the investment, which also includes Speedinvest, Mouro Capital, Elevator Ventures and other previous shareholders. Bird last raised less than a year ago a $19 million round led by Mouro. He won’t reveal his valuation, but the round was closed between rumors that Shopify was buying the logistics provider (apparently it was also considering acquiring Shipbob) and the actual acquisition, so it could have brought additional attention to Byrd.

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Today, the Berlin-based startup provides e-commerce customers with “virtual” warehouse space in seven European countries – not as a warehouse owner, but by co-hosting in warehouses elsewhere – along with a suite of software that helps these clients connect and manage and analyze shipments and deliveries across around the world — and the plan is to use the investment to expand that network and the services it provides around it, in particular to expand operations to work in new verticals like apparel. Today it covers the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, with the latest warehouses added in Italy and Spain. Sweden, Denmark and Poland are on the list to be launched later this year, with a total of 30 warehouses in 10 countries.

Byrd’s holy grail, so to speak, is to provide his retailers with a viable alternative to the types of services potentially available through Amazon Prime: fast shipping options, as well as a back end to manage products after they’ve been imported and until they’re sold. will not be received. to the final destination with the client; and an easy route for returns when that happens. It has a great opportunity, so to speak, as merchants today typically already sell through multiple channels, including their own websites, other marketplaces, and more.

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“We are already fulfilling tons of Amazon orders,” said Alexander Leichter, the CEO who co-founded Byrd with Sebastian Mach and Petra Dobrotska. “Why don’t they ship via Amazon? Merchants like to be independent and have choice, as well as consolidate operations across different channels. So it’s not true now and it won’t be true in the future that Amazon is the best solution. There is still a huge opportunity for independent solutions.”

Logistics and fulfillment are two of the most deceptively important parts of an e-commerce business model. Misleading because they are not visible to the average consumer buying the product; critical because they have become the centerpiece of not only sales revenue, but also a key differentiator when someone buys something: shipping and time costs can make or break a sale.

Byrd, originally founded in Vienna, has grappled with the complexities of its business model for many years, initially aiming to build its own network of physical warehouses before turning to a programmatic approach based on increasing and decreasing warehouse space as needed. it was necessary for the clients.

Dobrotska, chief commercial officer, said that while the acquisition of Deliverr certainly signals more consolidation into the 3PL (short for third party logistics) space, and perhaps also highlights that there may be fewer “3” among them, as e-commerce platforms strain their forces, retailers are still a significant enough population to leave room for vendors like Bird, that are both flexible and evolving. in functionality due to being software based. And regional coverage should not be underestimated.

“Shopify only launched three or four years ago in Germany and I would say that their reach in Europe is not that strong,” she said.

The company hasn’t launched yet, but is considering how to take its Amazon-rival model all the way to the Prime concept itself, if it manages to achieve more scale to make it worthwhile. (Something that Shopify might be considering too, given its growth and ambition.)

“There are some thoughts about Prime,” Leichter said. “That’s what makes sense. As for consumers, they can shop from multiple sellers and say that we have two sellers who are in the same warehouse but order through different websites. It would be wise to combine this with improved customer experience. But for now, it would be premature to do so. We need a lot of merchants to get there.

Matt Smalley, director of Cambridge Capital, is joining the company’s board of directors in this round.

“Byrd is one of the fastest growing companies we have seen, with what we believe to be the strongest unit economy in the industry. We were convinced of their technological approach and proprietary warehouse management software that allows byrd to manage a small asset distribution network,” he said in a statement. “Byrd’s broad coverage of the European market, excellent customer dynamics and high satisfaction from both retailers and warehouse partners appealed to us immediately.”

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