Print your shipping labels with a simple mouse click and ship your products at the most competitive rates. Innosend developed smart shipping software to make the lives of website owners a lot easier, by automatically linking orders to the right shipping method and carrier. With our platform, we want to ensure that entrepreneurs do not have to keep reinventing the wheel.
Our software automatically chooses the best shipping method and carrier within all of Europe.
Liu Kars, co-founder Innosend
Shipping is inseparable from running an e-commerce business. And at the same time, shipping is also the most time-consuming and complex aspect, as the business stands or falls with proper delivery of products. This could and should be made easier, founders Liu Kars and Virgil Swagemakers thought. 'It's not easy to set up a good distribution process as a webshop, especially if you also have customers abroad,' says Liu. 'And with Innosend we want to give these entrepreneurs the opportunity to automate and outsource that part, so they can focus on growing their business.
The idea behind Innosend came about in the summer of 2020, right after Liu tied a difficult knot. "With my previous company Ticketguard, we were initially doing well, but due to the combination of corona and wrong business choices, everything suddenly fell silent. And because there was also a lot of uncertainty at the time, we had just decided to put our operations on hold for the foreseeable future. I was actually mostly busy that summer thinking about what exactly I wanted to do.'
And then Liu met his future business partner Virgil, who suggested developing a shipping platform. 'Virgil already had a lot of experience as an e-commerce entrepreneur and owned several online stores. He was actually already running into all the shipping problems that we solve with Innosend," Liu continued. 'For example, the software he was using at the time had features he didn't need but was paying extra for. And it was also difficult to contact when something went wrong. He felt he had to keep reinventing the wheel for each step. That could just be done better, and he wanted to do that with me.
The foundation for a great collaboration had been laid. And the result is a complete package with smart software and handy tools. 'You can link multiple webshops and we have a dashboard with an overview of all orders, which allows you to print shipping labels quickly and easily,' Liu explains. 'Our software automatically chooses the best shipping method and carrier across Europe, and we also have our own track & trace portal, so you can keep your customers informed yourself.'
But what makes Innosend unique, according to Liu, is the personal contact. We noticed that there was a great need for this. As an online store, you are dependent on someone else for shipping. And actually you have no control over a very important aspect of your customer experience. Then it's nice to be able to quickly get in touch with that other party, which as a rule is just not really the case. And apart from that, we also always engage in conversation about real needs first, rather than offering a package with functionalities that are not needed.
The personal approach proved to be a golden opportunity for Innosend. In just over two years, the company grew to 4 FTEs. 'It also certainly helped that we always took customer demand as the starting point for our development,' says Liu. 'So in that sense, you develop the new features together with your customers and learn from their feedback. And it's also great to see that every new functionality we roll out always brings in a few new customers as well. But at some point we did get to a point where we needed additional funding to continue to grow.
Innosend found that funding with the NOM. 'You often see these types of companies eventually reach a point where they are held back in their growth and need capital,' says Daniëlle van Dalfsen, who was involved in the process as NOM's investment manager. 'And for start-up companies, it is often difficult to attract funding, so I am glad that we can play a role in this and help Northern Dutch companies take a step further in this way. Liu and Virgil are two very enthusiastic entrepreneurs who have found a niche market. Both have experience in entrepreneurship. And in combination with the personal approach, they will certainly also be able to connect new customers and grow further.'
In any case, Innosend is working hard to soon be ready for the growth spurt. 'For example, we are working on taking our track & trace portal to an even higher level so that it will soon be even easier for web shops to offer a better customer experience,' says Liu. 'We are also working on a returns function. That may not be the nicest part for a webshop, but it is a good way to distinguish yourself and further expand your service.'
There are also concrete plans for an in-house fulfillment center. 'There are many online stores that work from home or sometimes suddenly grow a lot faster than expected. So then it sometimes happens that you don't have enough space for storage or the warehouse becomes too small," Liu explains. 'That's also why we are now working on our own fulfillment center, where our customers can then store their products and we can basically take care of the whole distribution process for them. All these plans will hopefully allow us to grow into one of the bigger players in the Netherlands in the coming years.
In this white paper you will learn:
- What the innovation process looks like and what challenges you face along the way
- What opportunities there are to fund this early stage of your idea/product
- In what ways NOM as an investor can help you
Please note that this whitepaper is only available in Dutch at the moment. We are in the process of translating this whitepaper.