HOME STRETCH: Venice, Calif.-based Shipsi nabbed $1.9 million in seed capital to be deployed for development, hiring and marketing efforts.
The round was led by Mayra Tama of Initial Capital and Jesse Draper of Halogen Ventures, in addition to Precursor Ventures and Stage Venture Partners.
The technology firm’s software is installed on the back-end of a retailer’s online shop and if its shipping option is selected by a customer, it sifts through its database of drivers to make an appropriate match for delivery within a few hours.
The company works with more than 250,000 drivers across 100-plus cities, who help the company’s retail partners essentially plug the gap in the last mile of delivery — that final leg of the journey before a product makes it to a consumer. Shipsi cofounder and chief executive officer Chelsie Lee said the company is also in talks with two last-mile firms that would bump the number of drivers to more than 500,000 by the end of the first quarter.
On the retailer side, Shipsi counts a few hundred using its technology, according to Lee. Those partners include Restoration Hardware, VF Corp. and Spy Optics.
“In the beginning of this process I was thinking, ‘OK, we are going to be helping people get shoes faster or beauty products faster,’ and, really, the consumer focus is every vertical. It’s really interesting the demand,” Lee said.
Shipsi counts 10 full-time employees. About 30 percent of the new capital will be funneled toward adding new team members, according to Lee. The company has already filled positions in customer service and marketing, with a sales executive now being sought after.
Another 40 percent of the seed round will go toward development and the rest of the capital will be used for sales and marketing.