Investment Memos
July 1, 2020
Reilly Brennan

How to deliver faster than Amazon (Why we invested in Swyft)

Swyft is a Toronto-based startup that is changing the way merchants get their products to customers via same- and next-day delivery. We've looked at over 20 companies in 'last mile' over the last 24 months and passed on all of them -- until Swyft. The company is fundamentally different because it is a software-only platform, plugged into ecommerce ecosystems like Shopify, surfacing same- and next-day shipping to merchants via 3PLs and couriers otherwise inaccessible. This point of view was brought to life by very dynamic founders (Aadil Kazmi, Zeeshan Hamid and Maraz Rahman) harnessing a few notable tailwinds: 

  • Delivery is going to become increasingly important for all parts of consumer life, benefitting not just the wealthy.
  • For store owners who are trying to remain relevant, the 'anti-Amazon' economy will grow -- often out of necessity.
  • Building on top of existing ecommerce platforms makes great sense today -- in most cases these platforms are already developer friendly and allow for very fast integrations with minimal setup time and cost.

Swyft's value proposition is faster shipping for everyone, but the way they do this is by standing up two sides of a relationship marketplace: they obtain contracts with shippers like Nike or Uniqlo (the demand side) and connect them with local couriers who handle the shipments by picking them up from warehouses and 3PLs (the supply side). Swyft has to do both of these things in local markets to have success.

For Swift to succeed over the long term, we believe the following are necessary ingredients:

  • Swyft must be able to onboard more supply by bringing on (otherwise inaccessible) couriers to allow merchants to succeed at a service level equal to or greater than Amazon
  • 3PLs must work with Swyft and welcome the interaction with their clients' products
  • The demand side (merchants) must sign up, renew and promote the faster shipping options in their stores. Their customers must continue to want faster shipping options.
  • Swyft must grow its service offering in meaningful geographies (US and Canada) and meaningful platforms (Shopify,WooCommerce, Wix, etc).

The core risks for the company are in the customer/client side of the business as well as product. They could potentially mismanage a newcity by having too few of supply side or demand side. They could also try to build too many software products for both sides of the marketplace before they are at a proper inflection point. The pacing of the company in each market is critical.

Thankfully the company has a rich talent pipeline with people coming directly out of Shopify and Amazon going to work for Swyft in the last few months. The team is already at around two dozen employees with roughly 20% of the team in sales roles and growing. We look forward to helping Swyft build a new, reliable delivery software network for everyone else trying to compete against Amazon in the new economy.

Visit Swyft's site to learn more or view their open jobs.

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