uShip Completes Mammoth Raise With Top Tier Venture Firm

From the iconic downtown building that houses their headquarters, to the TV series “Shipping Wars“, to the famous SXSW parties, uShip is an awesome part of the Austin technology ecosystem. Today they announced  a huge round of funding with one of the most successful, and top tier, Silicon Valley venture capital investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).

“Kleiner Perkins funding and resources will propel uShip’s next phase of growth. Commercial freight is trending toward complete automation and greater efficiency, meaning uShip’s PRO platform has the opportunity to impact the entire industry, from enterprise shippers to freight brokers to carriers,” said Matt Chasen, CEO and founder of uShip. “We’ve already built an online shipping marketplace of over 1.6 million shipping customers and 325,000 registered carriers, a key distinction between our efforts and those of our competitors. KPCB’s funding and support will allow us to continue our global expansions plans and further develop our innovative shipping platform.”

“uShip is a proven marketplace model with fantastic traction across a number of transport categories,” said Liaw. “They are truly a disruptive player in shipping logistics, reducing friction for both shippers and transporters. We see a huge opportunity for growth in the commercial sector.”

uShip PRO
This round of funding will also enable uShip to further develop its new “PRO” platform (currently in private beta), which allows business shippers and freight brokers to build their own carrier networks, as well as efficiently manage and automate their shipping operations. uShip PRO is primarily aimed at the $300B truckload freight market in the U.S., and complements uShip’s consumer-oriented marketplace that helps people more efficiently and affordably move hard-to-ship, large items such as cars, boats, household goods and motorcycles.

Mobile Development
Perhaps no other segment in today’s workforce is more reliant on mobile devices than truckers – and 70 percent say their dependence is only growing stronger, according to a recent uShip mobile usage study. uShip is further developing its mobile applications and platform to better meet the needs of both transporters and shipping customers.

Global Expansion
Since 2009, uShip has been expanding its global footprint, now localized in 18 countries and regions on five continents, and plans to expand its marketing and development efforts in Latin America and Europe.

Shipping Wars, Season 3
Season 3 of Shipping Wars, the A&E real-life series that features uShip, premiered Dec. 12 and airs Wednesdays at 10/9c. The show follows six independent truck drivers who use uShip to competitively bid to transport oversized loads found on the marketplace. Seasons 1 and 2 attracted 2-3 million viewers per episode, placing it among cable’s top 10 shows (Nielsen).

This financing brings the total capital raised by uShip to $28M. KPCB joins institutional investors Benchmark Capital and DAG Ventures, each of which participated in earlier rounds.

Congratulations to Matt, Shawn, and the entire team!

uShip Completes Mammoth Raise With Top Tier Venture Firm

uShip Moving Downtown

uShip-NewHQs-MattChasen-4x6Austin-based uShip has been on a solid growth trend lately, typified by today’s announcement that they’re moving downtown. The startup is currently fitting 65 people into it’s 4,500 square foot office space on S. Congress. Their new digs in the McGarragh Jessee building on 2nd and Brazos are going to seem spacious by comparison, measuring 18,628 square feet. The advertising agency will be moving to 6th and Colorado later this year. But don’t get used to having that big office to yourself, because the company is planning on doubling headcount in the next few years, and expanding its service to Netherlands, France, and Spain in the next 12 months.

The unique building was built in 1910 by the Slaughter family, which operated a general store on the premises. It was purchased and renovated in 1999 in preparation for the advertising agency. The statistics say that downtown rental rates average $37 per square foot per  year. That would be almost $700,000 per year in rent on a building that the county says is worth $2.5M. Maybe some real estate folks can chime in on how much actual rates become after negotiations, and how much the county underestimates property values.

Congrats to the team at uShip on their continued growth!

uShip Moving Downtown

uShip Acquires UK Courier Exchange boxby.co.uk

uShip, the global online transport marketplace, today announced the acquisition of boxby.co.uk, the UK’s first web site to offer a transport exchange for couriers. The transaction provides UK house removal firms and eBay couriers access to more delivery jobs, helping them run full and more efficiently as they battle rising fuels costs and VAT increases.

The http://boxby.co.uk site will remain active throughout the incorporation of key uShip processes and functionality. Boxby co-founder Sandra Patterson will serve as a uShip consultant.

“Boxby has done an outstanding job organically establishing itself within a competitive UK courier services market,” said Matt Chasen, CEO and founder uShip. “Acquiring Boxby directly supports uShip’s current global expansion by helping to build on our already explosive UK growth, which has jumped 300 percent since last year.”

Ayrshire, Scotland-based Boxby and uShip operate similar and complementary businesses: each matches customers’ deliveries with extra space in transporters’ vans, resulting in fewer empty lorries on the road and more affordable delivery costs. Research shows a quarter to half of UK lorries operate virtually empty, while using uShip saves customers an average of 40-50 percent.

Sandra and Alistair Patterson started Boxby in 2007 after operating the online Lochryan Furniture Store for 20 years. By selling items through their website and eBay, they found that in nearly all cases, items sold were too large, too valuable or too heavy to post. Seeing the need, they created the Boxby delivery business. Today, over 2,500 couriers are registered on Boxby.

uShip Acquires UK Courier Exchange boxby.co.uk

uShip Continues Growth

uShip, the global online shipping marketplace, today announced it has surpassed $125M in business transacted in just five years, two-thirds of which has occurred during the recession. In 2009, uShip’s revenues doubled versus 2008 and the company also enhanced local settings for customers in the UK, EU, Canada, and Australia. uShip turned profitable in 2008, and at the 2010 SXSW Interactive conference, this will be a topic of discussion. While the shipping business may not sound exciting, Matt Chasen has built a strong business and a great company success story.

In 2002, Matt Chasen sat frustrated in the back of a nearly-empty 20-foot moving truck in Seattle. The 9-foot rental van he ordered was sold out, meaning he was about to drive his relatively small set of belongings in a virtually empty truck all the way to Texas. Then lightning struck. Chasen imagined filling the extra space with people’s items headed in the same direction. But how could he find them? His inspiration (and question) would eventually become uShip.

Launched in 2004, Chasen is now CEO of the 50-person company, which has stayed true to his original vision: connect people with transporters to make shipping more efficient and affordable. Feedback-rated transport companies, often with excess capacity or already making a similar trip, place competing bids to win business and ship customers’ cars, freight, household goods, horses, boats, pets, heavy equipment and more. As a transactional business model, uShip earns a fee from every completed shipment on its marketplace.

“Moving hard-to-ship things like cars, boats, households, equipment and freight is typically the source of frustration, not inspiration,” said Chasen. “I was fortunate to recognize that eureka moment over seven years ago, but, in some ways, we feel we’re just getting started with an increasing number of opportunities to grow and diversify uShip.”

Some interesting uShip facts:

  • Over $125M in business has transacted on uShip since 2004
  • Two-thirds (about $82M) of uShip’s transaction volume has occurred during the recession
  • uShip’s revenues doubled in 2009 vs. 2008
  • eBay item shipments on uShip have topped $30 million
  • Compared to 2008, non-U.S. shipments are up 500 percent globally and 272 percent in the UK
  • 900,000 shipments have been listed on uShip since launching in 2004
  • Over 20,000 customer stories have been left on uShip, thousands more on Facebook
  • At any given time, $8-$10 million in shipping jobs are available to transporters on uShip
uShip Continues Growth