TL;DR: We’re excited to lead the $10m Series A round into Packhelp, the European B2B marketplace for custom packaging, and announce White Star Capital’s first investment in Central and Eastern Europe.
Experience-driven commerce starts with packaging
When a click brings the world to our door, boxes are much more than just containers. A neighbour’s package from Amazon, Zalando, or the month’s latest subscription craze is a three dimensional billboard. Opening a package becomes an experience, an opportunity for businesses not just to make the perfect first impression, but to go viral as customers add to the over 137m unboxing videos on YouTube.
Even for those who didn’t film it, I’m sure many readers will remember a product or brand which wowed them at that moment: opening up a Butternut Box package and their dog’s excitement, or the smooth emergence of Revolut’s card from the box with sliding sides, for instance.
At White Star Capital, we’ve been actively investing in the evolving commerce landscape for a number of years. We see an ever-stronger behaviour in commerce, both online and offline, driven by experiences and underpinned by the association principle, where consumers make purchasing decisions based on perceived shared values and a sense of tribal belonging to a community. This belief led in part to our investments in companies such as Butternut Box and Freshly.
Until recently however, the problem for many businesses was that the ability to craft packaging which delights customers was limited to brands with sufficient scale and in-house design expertise.
In 2016, Wojciech Sadowski, Maciej Zając and the team at Packhelp faced exactly this issue when running their previous business. A client wanted a highly customised packaging solution at accessible prices. Unlike most small businesses, the team had the necessary design skills, but didn’t know which supplier to trust. A small order quantity, meanwhile, meant prohibitive prices and low priority, resulting in longer delivery times.
Realising the problem was a common one, they launched Packhelp, a B2B packaging marketplace. Their fully automated online platform includes a 3D design tool, so any company, large or small, across Europe can design and order highly customised packaging regardless of volume — from 30 to over 50,000 pieces — and receive them in as little as 2 days.
We’ve been fortunate through Meero, who re-imagined the B2B photography space, and Vention, who simplified complex machine design and ordering, to see how B2B marketplaces can eliminate logistical and supply chain complexities, and lead to higher average order values and stickier revenues. Their success has reaffirmed our thesis in this space.
Packhelp already have over 10k customers in over 30 countries across Europe, including the likes of EA, L’Oreal, and H&M. We are extremely excited to announce we are backing Wojciech and the Packhelp team by leading their Series A round of $10m — alongside existing investors SpeedInvest X, PROfounders and Market One Capital — to help them continue to expand across Europe and build the de-facto brand for custom packaging.
This investment is White Star Capital’s first investment in Central and Eastern Europe, and demonstrates two of our core beliefs: 1) great companies will more and more come from regions other than Silicon Valley, and 2) we increasingly operate in a global playing field, where companies no longer compete with domestic players but rather with regional or global players from day 1.
Looking forward to working with the entire Packhelp team and our co-investors Mathias at SpeedInvest X, Joe at PROfounders, and Marcin at Market One Capital, to help make custom packaging more accessible to all!
About White Star Capital
White Star Capital is a Venture Capital firm that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs building ambitious, international businesses. Based out of London, New York, Montreal, Paris and Tokyo, our presence, perspective and people enable us to partner closely with our Founders to help them scale internationally from Series A onwards .