Zipments, a tech company that links businesses with a range of local couriers, said Monday that it raised $2.25 million in seed funding from Chicago Ventures and other investors. Formerly the I2A Fund, the $40 million fund is led by Kevin Willer, ex-CEO of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and Internet entrepreneur Stuart Larkins.
The New York-based same-day delivery platform works by having customers file requests for pickup online or through a mobile app, and deliveries are dispatched to couriers that fit the type of transportation required.
Willer says Zipments is different from other on-demand delivery services, like Chicago’s WeDeliver, because it uses professional couriers, rather than crowdsourcing the services of regular folks with bikes or vans — the Uber of delivery companies rather than Lyft.
“What impressed us most is that they’ve done a lot in a fairly short amount of time in a challenging market,” Willer says. “New York’s got a lot of density for what they’re trying to do. They were able to get pretty good traction in that marketplace.”
Zipments also operates in Grand Rapids, Mich., where it was founded, and has plans to expand into Chicago, where “there’s absolutely a big opportunity” for it to take root, Willer says. Zipments already contracts a few couriers in Chicago.
Willer wouldn’t disclose the amount of Chicago Ventures’ investment in Zipments. The round was led by FirstMark Capital and Huron River Ventures; other investors include the Windquest Group, New York City Economic Development Corp., and Robert Safrata, CEO at Novex Couriers, one of the largest local same-day couriers in Canada.
Photo of Kevin Willer by John H. White, Sun-Times Media Group