E-commerce logistics startup Hive buzzes following $34M investment

Hive, located in Berlin, received a new investment of $34 million on Wednesday as it continues to build technology that allows direct-to-consumer firms to run operations in a different way. Oskar Ziegler, Franz Purucker, and Leo von Kleist created the firm in July 2020 to provide software and operational services, as well as clear cost structures, unique features, and environmentally friendly packaging and delivery.

Ziegler, who began his career in food delivery with foodpanda in Hong Kong, said he began consulting on e-commerce and logistics, and the issue of operational challenges came up during a conversation with friends who were creating DTC firms. He said, “It was then that I realized we could design something to provide small businesses the same logistical strength as Amazon.”

Purucker noted that when DTC businesses first launch, the owners focused on sales, marketing, and finding the proper message and influence to get their brand out there. However, after they exceed 30 orders per month and approach 1,000, it becomes more difficult to inspect inventory from home, and they do not receive the same cost-competitive freight forwarding rates as the major names.

Hive leveled the playing field by leveraging data to expedite fulfillment, which he called “the core of the organization,” by offering a number of shipping options as well as the flexibility to use the same inventory management, cost structure, and customer alerts as Amazon.

Existing investors Earlybird and Picus led the fresh investment round, which also included new investor Tiger Global Management. Hive receives a total of $44 million in investment, bringing its worth to $157 million.

“We’ve looked at the fulfillment area thoroughly and have come to the conclusion that the full stack approach is preferable owing to its complete control over the ultimate service quality,” said Fabian Heilemann, a partner at Earlybird, via email. 

“To carry out that objective, Hive has assembled the strongest team in the European market.” That’s why we increased our investment in this round by a factor of two.”

Hive plans to use the fresh funds to invest in product development and to develop new services for supply chain and business teams, doubling its tech workforce by next year.

It will also grow geographically, beginning in early 2022 with Paris. In most parts of Europe, the business hopes to reduce delivery times to two days, with next-day delivery in core areas. Hive swiftly developed to over 100 employees in 18 months, concentrating on product warehousing and order processing through its own fulfillment center. The company’s income increased tenfold over that period, and it now processes a few thousand items every day.