TL; DR: ShipMonk, founded in 2014, provides multichannel order fulfillment services and hosted ecommerce management that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to accelerate growth. The company aims to help these businesses spend less time battling spreadsheets and more time building and scaling their brands. By redefining the order management space using user-friendly technology, ShipMonk is able to offer the high-quality services that modern customers demand.
These days, it happens quite frequently: I’ll be scrolling through my Instagram feed, and some flashy sponsored post will catch my eye. The next thing I know, I’m looking through the comments to determine if whatever the brand is selling is worth the hype.
Inevitably, I’ll spot a few sad-faced emojis among countless heart-eye and fire ones. These emojis often accompany pleas for the brand to ship its products worldwide.
The reason many don’t: International shipping is a challenge, even for the world’s biggest brands. Duties, unexpected fees, and customs delays complicate the process for retailers, leading to fewer conversions and a poor customer experience.
But, according to Bea Tanese, Content Marketing Specialist at ShipMonk, it doesn’t have to be that way.
“ShipMonk is unique in the logistics space because we were born out of a desire to make things more accessible and modern,” Bea told us. “The truth about logistics is that it can get complex. The beauty of ShipMonk is that it takes that complexity and makes the process so user-friendly and so easy to understand that it’s no longer a hindrance to scaling a business.”
ShipMonk has reshaped the ecommerce industry via a cloud-hosted order fulfillment and inventory management platform fit for today’s global economy. The company’s advanced logistics technology simplifies both international and domestic shipping so companies can instead focus on tasks like marketing and product development.
“Even though logistics is a huge factor in the success of a company, it shouldn’t obstruct that success,” Bea said. “ShipMonk is able to take over that piece of the puzzle in a very accommodating way, providing solutions that make sense for business owners of any level. It’s always in our best interest to be on the same page as our merchants — their growth is our growth, and our growth is their growth.”
Merging Technology and Logistics Since 2014
Growing up in the Czech Republic, Jan Bednar dreamed of starting a business, which led him to immigrate to the United States at just 17. While at Florida Atlantic University, he began getting requests from back home asking if he could send products from the U.S.
“His friends and family wanted to buy American products from brands such as Under Armour and Victoria’s Secret,” Bea said. “But it was super expensive to get them shipped overseas, many companies wouldn’t accept their payment method, or companies wouldn’t offer to sell product overseas in the first place. So he thought, ‘Hey, you know what, maybe I can make a business out of this.’”
He founded BedaBox, a company focused on forwarding packages to international clients, in his FAU dorm room in 2014. After a few years, the startup had already won first place in both the FAU Business Plan Competition and the Florida Venture Forum Collegiate Competition.
At the same time, FAU invited him to join an accelerator program known as Tech Runway, which gave the company access to 3,000 square feet of warehouse space. By late 2015, the company moved to an even larger facility in Pompano Beach, Florida.
“In 2016, the company switched gears from a package forwarding company to start offering fulfillment services and rebranded as ShipMonk,” Bea said.
ShipMonk launched its cloud-hosted order, inventory, and warehouse management platform in 2016 and quickly scaled to larger facilities throughout the years. The company also opened warehouses in California and Pennsylvania as well as a development office in the Czech Republic.
The Motto: Stress Less, Grow More
Since then, ShipMonk’s focus on providing user-friendly order fulfillment, industry-leading technology, and warehouse automation has led to its continuous growth, both in physical presence and breadth of offerings.
The company offers multichannel ecommerce, subscription box, and crowdfunding fulfillment. ShipMonk also supports crowdfunding and flash sales and Amazon (FBA). Ecommerce software solutions are available for inventory, order, warehouse, and transportation management, plus post-purchase experiences.
The company’s strengths have also resulted in numerous accolades.
The company has been featured in Inc.’s 2018, 2019, and 2020 compilations of the 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in U.S., Entrepreneur Magazine’s 360 List of Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America in 2019, and Deloitte’s 2019 and 2020 Technology Fast 500. Forbes also profiled Jan in its 2018 30 Under 30 list.
The company fulfills the promise of its motto — Stress Less, Grow More — by offering multichannel order fulfillment service and inventory management software that empowers ecommerce businesses of all sizes to concentrate more on building their brand.
“When you own your own business, it’s so easy to get caught up in different tasks that can take you away from the things that you are skilled in and want to do,” Bea said. “For the most part, people want to focus on marketing and product development, rather than packing boxes.”
Helping Service the Ecommerce Boom
The past year was a pivotal one for the ecommerce industry as consumers had few other options than to shop online. As a company that services ecommerce businesses, ShipMonk was able to ease a bit of the adjustment. (The company also implemented strict daily sanitation, among other policies to reduce the spread of disease, at all warehouses).
“People were flocking to ecommerce to purchase hand sanitizer and masks, among other items that helped them adjust to the societal changes we were facing,” Bea said. “A combination of different factors caused a huge spike in demand for our services and the adoption of our software.”
Bea said the changes culminated by the end of 2020, when there was so much pressure on shipping carriers that domestic and international shipments were delayed throughout the world. Black Friday 2020, for example, was like any other Black Friday on steroids — and even more delays.
“There was limited infrastructural support for shipping carriers to handle such an unprecedented increase in volume,” she said. “So there were definitely challenges along the way, but overall it was a big year of growth for us. We ended the year on a really good note knowing that we helped so many online businesses move forward.”
Expansion Capital and a Growing Global Presence
As for what’s next for ShipMonk, Bea told us the company will continue to grow, enabling more business founders to devote more time to the things that matter most. In October 2018, the company generated $10 million in Series A funding. Most recently, in December 2020, ShipMonk received $290 million in a round of growth equity funding.
“We’re continuing to grow, which is great for us but also great for merchants because, with more resources, we can provide even better services,” she said. “In terms of staff, we started last year with a few hundred employees and ended with more than a thousand.”
The company also plans on opening a warehouse in Europe shortly.
“Even though we service merchants globally, having a warehouse overseas will help us facilitate greater access to international customers,” Bea said.