Full-Stack E-Commerce Fulfilment with Huboo

By Megumi Ikeda with contributions from Jacqueline Cegla (Hearst Venture)

So much has happened since we first invested in Huboo in the autumn of 2020. How’s it all faring for Huboo?

First, some background on Huboo and why we invested in the company.

Amazon has set high standards for e-commerce delivery. We, the consumers, expect prompt delivery and an ability to track the item as well as a seamless returns process. We expect this not only from the likes of Amazon, ASOS and Walmart but also from that indie, sustainability-focused coffee brand around the corner. Yet for that indie coffee brand, which does not have the volume of shipments, staff and warehouse capacity to manage its fulfilment, how can it manage?

Historically there were a few ways:

  1. Do it yourself. Use the spare bedroom or corner of the office; hire (part-time) staff if you can.

None of these solutions is truly optimal: They are irritatingly time-consuming for a merchant, prone to high error rates resulting in disgruntled customers, and/or punishing to margins.

Huboo is a full-stack e-commerce warehouse and fulfilment company. An e-commerce retailer/brand connects its shop software (i.e. Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, etc.) to Huboo’s software. The retailer then sends its goods to a Huboo warehouse. When a consumer purchases the item — be it eBay, its own site, or Not On The High Street — Huboo’s system alerts a warehouse manager who then picks and packs the item per the client specs and uses a 3rd-party logistics provider optimized for the client’s choice of last-mile delivery.

Huboo has reconfigured the warehouse for e-commerce fulfilment. At its core are “hubs,” or micro-warehouses managed by someone responsible for customer service, picking, packing and fulfilment. Woven throughout the warehouse is a vertically integrated proprietary software that manages the warehouse, inventory and picking to drive efficiency, optimize the warehouse and keeping error rates low.

By going back to first principles, Huboo has a product accessible not only to the medium and larger retailers but also to those small and emerging brands/retailers (including that independent indie coffee brand!). Even the smallest merchant or a brand with relatively low-price point goods can now have a delivery service experience on par with the best at a price sharply less than any other alternatives. Merchants can go back to making and selling great product, not printing labels or dealing with last-mile delivery companies.

So what has happened since we first invested?

Well in the UK, Huboo has had all the headaches and unexpected — or at least unplanned — events around Brexit. And like any workplace, Huboo was hit by the pandemic and pingdemic. There was the perfect Covid-Brexit storm when the French shut the borders to trucks from Britain due to the spread of the Delta virus.

Has it been easy? No. But, Huboo has pulled its sales team on to the warehouse floor, ramped up its learning and development training and received extra help to manage these issues. The management team have gotten on those warehouse floors to understand the stress and strains.

And as difficult as it was, the value of Huboo’s full-stack model shone through during this period. By having its own warehouses, software and staff, Huboo can reconfigure warehouse space, quickly adapt its software, add advanced automation or robotic components to match changing needs. And by connecting clients directly with individuals on the warehouse floors, Huboo has employees that are focused, proud of their customers and servicing them well. Clients have more transparency around its process than they would with a traditional 3PL, resulting in Huboo’s high customer satisfaction.

Woven in the DNA of the company is the heart and brain of co-founders, Martin Bysh, CEO, and Paul Dodd, CTO. With Martin and Paul there is a marriage of experienced tech software and fulfilment operational expertise. With their experience, tenacity and attention to detail, the company has grown to now having acquired more than 1,000 customers since launch. Huboo has expanded into Europe to service not only the UK, but also European customers from the US and other territories wishing to service this geography.

By being at the center of so many e-commerce businesses and engendering their trust, there is so much more Huboo can do for its clients. Further geographic expansion, of course. But Huboo is optimally placed to help merchants roll out new sales channels simply and quickly and provide additional services via their merchant app store.

The work to-date and the company’s potential has resulted in Huboo closing its £60m round led by Mubadala Capital today. We at Hearst are humbled to be able to continue to work with the team alongside Mubadala and existing investors Ada Ventures, Episode1, Stride.vc and Maersk Growth. And on our team, a great thank you to Jacqueline Cegla for her support on the deal.

See here Huboo bard rejoicing. (Professional singing is not a requirement for Huboo employment.)



With offices in the US, Europe, China & Israel, Hearst Ventures is a leading corporate fund, with $1bn+ invested in rapidly growing media and tech companies

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Hearst Ventures

With offices in the US, Europe, China & Israel, Hearst Ventures is a leading corporate fund, with $1bn+ invested in rapidly growing media and tech companies