Oh the weather outside is frightful, but it’s not snowing in the south-western tip of Africa. The wind’s howling and four seasons are constantly…
South African ecommerce startup ParcelNinja has just announced a R20-million investment from C5 Holdings — a London, UK-based data and cyber security fund manager.
If you haven’t heard of it before, ParcelNinja is an ecommerce fulfilment service that stores, packs, and delivers all your goods — it’s essentially an ecommerce logistics enabler. It also provides a web interface that lets merchants keep track of all their products.
After years of doing research on ecommerce warehousing on the international market, the company thinks it’s found the right recipe for the local market. This recent cash injection will enable it to grow its operations in South Africa, and significantly increase the number of companies it serves.
Started in 2013 by Justin Drennan, Ryan Drennan and Terence Murphy, Parcelninja launched its first commercial services in October 2014.
With a background in starting WantItAll (which is the holding company of ParcelNinja), helping grow Superbalist and partnering with Makro, the founders all have a big hand in getting the ecommerce ball rolling in South Africa.
And oh, how it’s been rolling.
Besides large players like Takealot receiving massive investments, acquiring trendy fashion etailer Superbalist and merging with competitor Kalahari, more and more merchant enablers like ParcelNinja have been showing impressive growth. One such example is the two-year old ecommerce builder, ShopStar, which has over 1 710 merchant shops registered so far.
“Ecommerce is growing in South Africa, and ParcelNinja is there to assist online shopping companies by removing the most expensive and time consuming parts of the business,” echoes Drennan. “ParcelNinja offers online shops the benefits of a large-scale ecommerce operation, which drives down costs and provides better service levels.”
Chatting to Ventureburn, Drennan explains that the company is currently focusing on building an API for existing online shopping platforms like Magento, WooCommerce and Shoppfiy. “This will allow SMEs to easily go online,” he says noting that ParcelNinja takes care of some of the most important sections of ecommerce — logistics and warehousing.
“The challenge for SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) in South Africa today is it’s difficult to be an expert in all these different fields. Ecommerce companies usually love finding and marketing their products though they don’t like logistics. ParcelNinja allows them to focus on what they do best,” he says.
Drennan further points out that ParcelNinja has been profitable since it started rolling out its service. “Within the last two months we’ve seen 15 new clients sign up for our service,” he explains. These include many large local online shops like Superbalist, WantItAll, Grabit, DCStore, Juniva, Action Gear, Kids Emporium and Flook. “We expect this number to grow even quicker,” he tells us.