Notion has just completed an investment in Shutl – you can read the full press release here. I wanted to write about why we made this investment and why we think the business has a very bright future.
In a nutshell, Shutl enables ecommerce companies to offer immediate or one-hour window deliveries to their customers through a network of local point-to-point couriers. Ecommerce has historically utilised the hub-and-spoke delivery model making it virtually impossible to offer such an immediate or precise service. The ecommerce market has been innovating non-stop for more than fifteen years now and yet there has really been little meaningful innovation in delivery. The result has been widespread consumer dissatisfaction which loses retailers sales.
Shutl’s service represents real innovation, Their technology integrates with local courier companies and identifies available capacity to provide ecommerce customers in real time with a same day delivery time and cost. The service has delivered products in as little as 15 minutes! Customers can actually see their products winging their way towards them using GPS and they can then rate the service such that the best couriers will be more likely to be selected the next time. Like all the best propositions it’s really that simple but it has taken a great deal of R&D to deliver the kind of seamless experience that brand’s would want for their customers.
The global ecommerce market is around $500bn today and is expected to reach $1tr by 2016. This is clearly a massive market and it seems very likely that a good percentage of these customers would select a more immediate, flexible and precise delivery service if given the choice.
Tom Allason, Shutl’s founder and CEO, is probably the reason I was drawn to the opportunity in the first place. Tom has already had an exit in the courier market and knows the industry inside out. But more importantly, Tom has a really clear and compelling vision for Shutl and you just know he is not going to stop until he gets there. Tom is also building a really strong team around him and you can tell just by looking the piles of CV’s on his desk the importance he places on finding great people.
More broadly, Shutl is leveraging two of the biggest trends in the technology industry right now in local and mobile. Local merchants are losing more and more market share to the big ecommerce players and are trying to play to their strengths like never before. Clearly the biggest advantage local merchants have is that they are close by so products can reach their customers faster. What’s more customers know where the products have come from, feel they are more connected with the local area and have the chance to see them before they buy or return then after, all making for a more personal experience.
Ecommerce from mobile devices is already more than 10% of the total market and this share is likely to grow rapidly over the coming years driven by the growth in both smartphones and tablets and an every improving customer experience. Mobile devices are by their very nature not tethered to where you live. So in the future we’re going to see more and more products being bought from mobile devices and customers will start demanding a similar level of mobility and convenience in the way those products are delivered. In short, ecommerce will be more and more about the products we want, when and where we want them and this is exactly what Shutl provides.
We are very excited to be investing in Shutl - I believe they have what it takes to give customers a better choice in their ecommerce deliveries and at the same time build a large and global business.
In other news, Notion invests $9m into the rocket driving the Direct Booking Movement.