Founders in Focus: William On from Shippit

Join us for a conversation with Will from Shippit about their journey to revolutionise the logistics industry.



Join us for a conversation with Will from Shippit about their journey to revolutionise the logistics industry.

Rob Hango-Zada and William On

Rob Hango-Zada and William On

This month we’re joined by William On (Co-Founder & Co-CEO) from Shippit. We have been big believers of Shippit’s vision since 2017 and have continued to invest at every stage of their story since - from its original vision to “power logistics for the online retail economy” to now revolutionising “how we send anything to anyone, anywhere”. Shippit’s growth has been incredibly capital efficient and following a year where they tripled revenue, achieved profitability and raised US$22 million led by Tiger Global, we hope our chat with Will can help uncover parts of the journey to today.

What is Shippit in 3 or less sentences?

Will: Our mission is to enable anyone to ship anything, anywhere. We've started out connecting eCommerce retailers to couriers to algorithmically save them time, money and keep their customers happy.

Where did your inspiration for the space come from?

Will: I had a terrible delivery experience buying a Dyson in 2014, and my cofounder Rob bought a case of wine and his pregnant wife had to pick it up from the local post office. Doing a bit of homework, we realised that if eCommerce was going to continue to grow at the rate that it was, something needed to change in the logistics industry - it was archaic, built for B2B and not tech enabled. Things were still done on pen paper and spreadsheets!

COVID-19 has reshaped countless sectors, including logistics. What has the impact been on the industry and your work at Shippit?

Will: 5 years of e-commerce growth occurred in 3 months during COVID-19 - a structural change that shifted purchasing behaviours to default 'online first'. My mum is 72 hardly speaks English and has been an avid online shopper since COVID-19 - a trend representative of the retail landscape. This presented Shippit with an amazing opportunity to ride the tailwinds. Whilst businesses were busy restructuring their operations, I'm proud to say that we helped many retailers stay afloat by turning their stores into mini distribution centres. For work at Shippit, we've always been a remote first business - this was exacerbated by COVID. We're fortunate that being a technology business, the shift from working in the office to at home was seamless. However, since we're a people-first business, capabilities such as recruitment, onboarding, learning & development needed a rethink. We added circa 50% of our headcount during COVID-19 and the growth hasn't stopped, therefore supporting Australian consumers' insatiable appetite for shopping online has been a huge focus for us. Processes that used to work don't anymore, so we've really had to be deliberate about scaling our operations. A lot more focus has been placed on work/life balance, mental wellness and providing the supporting mechanisms which allow people to flourish whilst working remotely.

Not a lot of AU companies can say they chose Asia as their first destination for international expansion. Why Asia and what can you share about your learnings to date?

Will: We were fortunate enough to be pulled into South East Asia by 2 of our largest customers, Sephora and CottonOn. Having enabled Singapore and Malaysia it was an awesome opportunity for us to localise and commercialise the product. Digging deeper, South East Asia is the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world growing c. 40% year on year - fuelled further by COVID. Couple that with the rising middle class (code word for disposable income), mobile internet penetration and a population twice the size of the US, South East Asia presented a huge opportunity at our doorstep.

You had a fantastic Series B come together with Tiger Global Management and Global Founders Capital joining the existing investors. What were the most important things you were looking for from your investors when raising Series B?

Will: Shippit has always been a capital-efficient business having only raised $11m prior to our Series B. We were profitable for much of 2020 which gave us optionality, especially since we had quite a bit of working capital. We decided to raise capital off a whirlwind year where we tripled our revenue - this afforded us to double down on investments and focus on building both a scalable and sustainable business. Being over-subscribed for our Series B, we had criteria that included Global reach, domain expertise (retail or logistics) and capability which would help us operationally (for example, Tiger recently brought on Bain to help us with some pricing and packaging work). Most importantly, finding investors who are bought into the vision to enable us to swing for the fences and become the next big Australian tech export was high on our priority list.

Where do you see Shippit three years down the line?

Will: I wish I had a crystal ball for the next 12 months - if COVID-19 has taught us anything, don't plan too far ahead! We will deepen our leading position in Australia and scale our presence in South East Asia - helping retailers ship anything to anyone, anywhere. This will mean investing in our team by hiring more people as well as focussing on providing the best delivery experience to recipients.


Shippit is a portfolio company of the Aura Venture Fund I. Learn more about venture capital, or Shippit.


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