Estonian startup ParcelSea raises close to €1M to scale smart mailboxes to new markets
Estonian startup ParcelSea, based in Tallinn, announces raising €935,000 ($1,13M) to build its smart mailbox network in Estonia and foreign markets. The company has been on a fast-developing trajectory while e-commerce and contactless pickup are booming.
ParcelSea plans to use the funding to expand production and continue building new features and services, such as freezer department for food, parcel delivery and return and various smart home solutions.
The funding round was led by Superangel and in addition to venture capital funds (Superangel and United Angels) the primary investors include successful Estonian start-up founders such as Taavi Madiberk (Skeleton Technologies), Kristjan Vilosius (Katana MRP), Taavi Tamkivi (Salv), Triin Hertmann and Alvar Lumberg (Grünfin) and many others.
What is a ParcelSea smart mailbox?
ParcelSea smart mailbox is a personal locker for parcel deliveries, that accepts packages in a secure and contact-free way. It’s made of 3 sections and fits various package sizes, letters, and up to 5 grocery bags.
Its most distinctive features today are innovative design, integration-free and open solution approach, which means that all couriers and grocery stores can leave their packages. It also makes peer-to-peer sharing economy much easier. No special application is required to use the box.
ParcelSea currently focuses on private-, terraced and semi-detached houses. “We want to offer a smart home mailbox that is always at home and ready to accept all packages, food and friend-to-friend goods without human contact" said the CEO and co-founder Andres Sampka. “Today, there are more packages delivered home than letters or newspapers. Ordinary mailboxes are often sitting empty,” added CTO and co-founder Indrek Jürgenson.
The story just recently began in a garage
"It took us only 4 months to bring the concept to a fully functioning solution. The biggest challenge was deciding for the most simple and reliable solution out of all the good ideas and also keep the minimalist design,” said Andres Sampka.
He adds that "from the first day the goal was to test the product in a real environment with real customers and courier companies. Many thanks to all our pilot customers for their valuable feedback. We’ve made several changes in the product based on that”.
“It’s been quite a ride. We have moved from a garage in Viimsi to our office in Pirita and involved a development partner, also an investor - Hoob. We have currently 9 members in the team all working towards a common goal of making the last mile courier services more convenient for all parties," one of co-founders and technology manager Indrek Jürgenson said while looking back on a journey.
Business Development Manager Tanel Raun said that pre-orders have already exceeded expectations: “Most orders are from larger cities and their suburbs. We are starting to install several hundred personal mailboxes in a couple of weeks. By the end of the year, our goal is to have at least 1,000 boxes functioning across Estonia”.
Comments from Superangel and investors
Superangel has emphasized ParcelSea’s strong team of founders with remarkable experience in the industry and a bold vision. Market trends such as continued growth of e-commerce and the contactless handling of parcels, are in no doubt only grist for their mill.
Superangel also previously invested in technology companies that solve the transportation challenges of both people and goods - Ziticity, Bolt and Starship Technologies. They see several collaboration opportunities that could help create even more value for customers.
One of the earliest investors in ParcelSea, IT visionary Taavi Kotka said that "e-commerce has recently seen multiple growth in many categories and existing solutions don’t seem to handle the volumes and customer preferences much longer. He believes that smart mailbox becomes one of the key elements of the smart city infrastructure."
The CEO of Kaamos Kinnisvara, Priit Uustulnd states that “smart mailbox is definitely a product that meets market expectations. In addition, its founders have a remarkable know-how in the industry, dedicated leadership, professional team and development competencies. These are all good prerequisites for being successful in the market.
“We are always looking for synergies that create added value to our business lines and therefore happy to contribute to a service that brings value to our customers by reducing their transportation costs and saving their valuable time,” said Uustulnd.
The co-founders of ParcelSea said that the main focus is on the development, improvement and installation of personal smart mailboxes: “We are working on several versions of the product to answer the needs of both private and business customers with different needs. Step by step, we are planning to offer additional services to both companies and private customers. Things like sending parcels and returning the goods to the shop. We are also developing other smart home solutions that make user's life more comfortable.”
At the end of the summer, the first pilot projects begin in the foreign markets in Finland and Sweden. The long-term plan is to have smart mailboxes all around the world and to support the image of Estonia's innovative digital state with another success story.