This Denver startup raised $4.7M to optimize the furniture delivery process
As Covid-19 delays have caused backups at global ports and warehouses, furniture delivery times have rapidly increased.
No longer does it take a few weeks to get a couch or coffee table; consumers are now waiting months for their furniture to be delivered.
In response to this bottleneck, a local startup is looking to optimize the delivery process for heavy goods, and has brought on $4.7 million in seed funding from a host of local investors to grow its offering.
Denver-based Onward Delivery, a freight marketplace that connects retail stores to underutilized trucks on the road, recently announced an oversubscribed $4.7 million seed funding round, led by Colorado’s Range Ventures and Matchstick Ventures.
The seed round also was backed by follow-on investments from Springtime Ventures and others, as well as angel investors like James Eberhard, founder and CEO of Denver’s Fluid Truck.
Grafton Elliott founded Onward in 2020 after his own personal experiences with the inefficiencies in the freight brokerage space.
“Most of the time, box trucks are not packed to the brim,” he said. “Very rarely are they going out full.”
The reason, he said, is that retail stores rely on a single delivery company in each market, rather than optimizing their workflow with trucks that are already on the road. Onward's platform matches available shipments to a truck already headed in the same direction. It creates a more efficient shipping model for retailers, full trucks for carriers and quicker deliveries for customers, Elliott said.
The company is primarily focused on optimizing the shipping of heavy goods like furniture and remodeling supplies, and aims to bring same-day delivery to suburban and rural areas with its service.
Onward’s solution has come at a critical time for an industry under pressure from supply-chain delays and a lack of drivers.
“There’s really never been a better opportunity to start a company like this. We’re fixing a problem where there’s a driver shortage in the U.S.,” Elliott said. “The solution to fixing the driver shortage is not hiring more drivers, it is making the drivers on the road more efficient.”
Onward took part in the Techstars Iowa Accelerator in 2021 and has already partnered with 75 retail stores across six states: Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, Georgia, Kansas and Missouri. Onward's retail partners include Slumberland Furniture, Bassett Furniture, Woodley's Fine Furniture, Element Home and The Tile Shop.
"We believe Onward Delivery is well-positioned to innovate an industry that has been historically under invested in," said Natty Zola of Matchstick Ventures. "At a moment when everyone is talking about the need to solve supply chain challenges, Matchstick is looking forward to watching Onward bring its final-mile delivery solution to more markets across the country."
This capital will help Onward grow its team and expand into new markets across the country. Elliott said the company hopes to be in 15 markets by the end of 2022.
Source: Colorado Inno