Flexe, the company that pioneered the concept of warehouse on demand, has raised $70 million to build out its technology platform and facilities network connecting shippers with available space while also providing warehouse management and order management capabilities.
The Series C round was led by new investor T. Rowe Price Associates, with participation from existing investors Activate Capital, Tiger Global, Madrona Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Prologis Ventures, among others. It more than doubled Flexe’s previous venture total of $64 million.
“We are excited to invest in Flexe,” said Andrew Davis, Director of Private Investments at T. Rowe Price Associates in a release. “Their innovative, technology-first approach to logistics allows companies to capitalize on, rather than suffer from, shifts in consumer behavior.”
“We’ve grown very rapidly since our last capital round 18 months ago,” said Flexe CEO Karl Siebrecht, who founded the company in Seattle in 2013. “T. Rowe Price is a great partner for us, with a lot of logistics expertise. They’re also a very focused, long-term investor, typically making private investments in categories that are big and going through a disruption cycle.”
Siebrecht said Flexe’s facility locations through its partners has grown 50% in the past year, from 1,000 to 1,500, as demand has spiked during the ongoing 2020 ecommerce explosion. Flexe is asset light in that it doesn’t own or manage any of the facilities used by its customers, who include large retailers and brands including Ace Hardware, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Ralph Lauren, Staples and Walmart.
He said Flexe provides customers with access to inventory and order visibility, as well as a range of LTL, parcel and last-mile carriers through its platform, in addition to short-term fulfillment space. They can expand and contract the services as demand dictates without the high fixed costs of owning or leasing their facilities or signing a long-term contract with a 3PL – many of whom as it happens are Flexe’s supplier partners.
“We’re adding more capacity with partners in smaller cities and suburbs,” Siebrecht said. “In a world where two-day ecommerce fulfillment is standard, the most common distribution points are New Jersey, Indianapolis and Los Angeles. If you want one day, you need about 12 markets. The good news is, there are lots of warehouses in these locations, but many are not doing ecommerce fulfillment. We can give them the tools, technology and expertise to enable it for our customers.”