Route Lands $200 Million in Series B Funding, Pushing the Lehi / Los Angeles-based Firm to "Unicorn Status"
Formed in 2018 as an insurance company for shipped products, Route has now tracked over 175 million packages for customers, has more than 11,000 partners, and has reached a valuation of $1.25 billion.
Lehi, Utah and Los Angeles-based Route has now achieved mythical Unicorn Status after closing a $200 million Series B round of funding.
According to a news release shared with Silicon Slopes, Route calls itself a "... post-purchase experience platform and package tracking company."
The news release explains, somewhat mysteriously, that the round was led by an unnamed "large London-based investment firm."
Other investors in the round were disclosed, however, including Eldridge, Madrona Venture Group, Riot Ventures, Banner Ventures, FJ Labs, Endeavor, JAWS Capital, 75 & Sunny Ventures, and such individual investors as founders or executives from ClassPass, Elevate Brands, Flexport, Net-a-Porter, Squarespace, Venmo, and Zillow.
According to a Forbes article about the funding, Route's revenue jumped to close to $80 million in 2021, up from $34 million in 2020.
However, as you explore the Route website and peel-back the marketing-speak in its funding news release, it's clear that Route is in the midst of an evolving set of service/product offerings.
In fact, as Route CEO and Founder Evan Walker explains:
“Looking beyond being the package tracking leader, we’re adding products and features to simplify and improve other areas within e-commerce. Such as one-click resolve for shipping issues and a Discover platform that is curated and personalized to each user based on global shopping behavior and trends.”
Route: From Insurance to Tracking to Driving Customer Engagement and Increased Sales
As noted in the YouTube video below, Route's first services initially launched in the second half of November 2019, offerings that allowed its customers to do two things:
- Enable their consumers to easily and simply Track their products anywhere from a smartphone (or Internet-connected computer); and then
- To also allow consumers to Protect their shipping products for virtually nothing with a API-driven feature that seamlessly integrated with the top online eCommerce platforms.
For example, Route works seamlessly with such leading eCommerce platforms as
- ShopifyPlus, and
With its offerings, Route has now insured eCommerce-purchased products valued at over $3.7 billion, and it's being used by more than 5.2 million consumers.
As highlighted in the video below, customers like the Utah Jazz are implementing Route to drive lower costs, while improving customer satisfaction with both the eCommerce process and with the NBA franchise.
Where Route gets quite interesting to me, however, is in its new Discover offering, a new service launched in mid-2021 that I suspect can dramatically transform Route's value, both to its eCommerce customers and to its investors.
"It's the Data, Stupid!"
In 1992, James Carville, long-time Democrat Party strategist helped then Presidential candidate Bill Clinton course-correct his floundering campaign by telling him "It's the Economy, stupid!"
In a similar vein, yet with a virtual apology extended to Carville, I'm convinced that the long-term value of Route is best summarized by the phrase,
"It's the Data, Stupid!"
And this is true both for its customers and to its investors; it's all about the data that the Software-as-a-Service platform gathers, agglomerates, and analyzes over time.
Every consumer that engages with a Route-enhanced eCommerce website, every product that she/he purchases, tracks and/or insures (including pricing, features, etc.), and much, much more, it all provides Route with the ability to drive Artificial Intelligence-powered new product recommendations to end-consumers.
Think of this AI-juiced engine as a super powerful machine-learning eCommerce plugin designed to improve customer engagement, satisfaction and new sales, and you start to get a glimpse of what Route's Discover is all about.
Interestingly, when Route decided to kick-off Discover, it did so during a three-day Miami, Florida experiential product launch during Swim Week in July 2021.
In fact, Fashion Week Online described Route's private affair as "three unforgettable days" for the company that's
"... helping people discover and celebrate the world’s brands through a completely reimagined e-commerce marketplace that directly connects and empowers both consumers and brands."
Bottom line, I believe it's the new Discover feature that puts Route squarely into the marketing and sales enhancement realm.
And that is what really intrigues me about Route.