Toronto-based startup Boxhub, which offers an online marketplace for shipping containers, has raised a $12.4-million Series A round.
Early-stage venture fund AlleyCorp led the round with participation from Solasta Ventures, Interplay VC, FJ Labs, and Hum Capital. AlleyCorp partner Susannah Shipton has also joined Boxhub’s board of directors.
While there was a shipping container shortage during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now a surplus.
Though headquartered in Canada, Boxhub’s service areas are all in the United States. According to the startup, this funding will fuel its international expansion and product development.
Founded in 2017, Boxhub provides an e-commerce and logistics platform for the purchase and delivery of new and used shipping containers. Its marketplace features an overview of available containers, upfront pricing, automated checkouts, and customer service.
According to Boxhub, its approach to shipping container transactions with both consumers and businesses eliminates the need for shipping lines and leasing companies to undertake “empty container repositioning,” which refers to moving empty containers from an area with a surplus inventory to a location with a deficit. Freight forwarders are estimated to spend around $20 billion USD on repositioning empty containers every year.
“The global shipping industry relies on antiquated systems ripe for technological advancement,” said Boxhub co-founder and CEO Maximilian Birner. “The heavily manual processes underpinning shipping container trade are no exception.”
The shipping industry has experienced a dynamic market in recent years. While it experienced a shortage of containers during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now reportedly a surplus.
Despite the changing market conditions it faced, Boxhub said it experienced growth in its portfolio of enterprise container buyers, ranging from retailers and construction firms to non-profit organizations creating children’s libraries and emergency health-care clinics.
Organizations and brands such as NASA, General Electric, Hobby Lobby, and the New York City Housing Authority have purchased shipping containers through Boxhub.
Beyond its B2B business, Boxhub said it has also become popular with consumers working on container-based upcycling initiatives. Many of the shipping containers sold through its platform end up living second lives as tiny houses, vertical farms, and home offices.
Boxhub previously raised a $2.7-million seed round last year, which was led by Niklas Östberg, the founder and CEO of German food-delivery company Delivery Hero.
Featured image courtesy Boxhub.