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The pandemic has plunged – and continues to plunge – supply chains into a state of chaos. According to According to a 2021 Statista survey, 50% of shippers said they struggled to reduce transportation costs, a challenge that will only get worse as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacts shipping costs. world fuel prices. Other barriers to success in logistics and shipping, including fluctuating customer demand, inventory management, talent sourcing and technology tracking, as well as sourcing, manufacturing, data analysis and management. Last year, Deloitte found that more than 40% of companies have seen their costs increase by 5% or more due to persistent supply chain problems.

Goods of all kinds have been affected by the current logistical blockages, including fine art, jewelry and antiques. Seeking a technological solution to the problems, entrepreneurs Clément Ouizille and Edouard Gouin four years ago launched Convelio, a company that uses algorithms to offer high-end sellers instant quotes on shipping. Supported by the pandemic state of the market, Convelio recently closed a $35 million investment round, bringing its total capital raised to $45 million, the company announced this morning.

Shipping Automation

The idea of ​​applying automation to shipping is not new. Loadsmart, Flock Freight and their competitors are using AI to match shippers with trucking, while companies like Cargo. We find air routes for freight algorithmically. But Convelio, uniquely, focuses on luxury items, which can be more expensive to ship the traditional way due to the delicacy of the packaged goods.

Ouizille came up with the idea for Convelio with Gouin while working as a logistics manager at Pamono, a Berlin-based antique furniture retailer. Gouin is a serial angel investor, having backed revenue pooling startup Pando and no-code payment framework provider Primer, among other companies.

“My co-founder, Clément Ouizille, and I started our careers working for Adrian Frenzel, COO of Rocket Internet, now Global COO of Gorillas. While working for Rocket’s portfolio companies, we developed a deep understanding of start-up operations and then built fine art e-commerce companies out of personal interest,” Gouin told VentureBeat via e-mail. -mail. “We quickly realized that, unlike more traditional e-commerce spaces, fine art was missing a key element to successfully transitioning online: efficient, integrated shipping.”

Convelio, which delivers to more than 80 destinations, takes into account parameters such as fragility, size and value to create a supply chain for works of art and other luxury products, such as sculptures and furniture. For clients such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and 3,000 other auction houses, galleries and collectors, Convelio automates customs, insurance, real-time tracking and delivery processes.

Coins shipped by Paris-based Convelio typically have a value between €5,000 ($5,565) and €1 million ($1.11 million), according to Ouizille.

“We have developed an in-house instant pricing algorithm that instantly assesses multiple data points across the entire supply chain,” Gouin explained. “Convelio’s technology not only allows platforms to improve the customer experience on their website by implementing our API or widget, but it can also be used to automate internal workflows such as collecting shipments , invoicing and invoicing or inventory management… For a partner, leveraging our core technologies… means they can streamline their processes and support buyers and sellers with after-sales administration.

In addition to automating quotes and workflows, Convelio helps manage documents and customize different shipping services. Its network spans 19 “crating centers,” says Mr. Ouizille, which are responsible for ensuring goods are not damaged in transit.

Significant growth

The luxury goods market has been hit during the pandemic, with the world’s 100 largest luxury goods companies generating revenues of $252 billion in 2020 compared to $281 billion in 2019. According to According to Deloitte, more than 80% of top 100 companies reported lower sales in 2020, reflecting pandemic-related store closures, travel bans, shifts in consumer demand, supply chain disruptions, and more. supply and other factors.

But in what can only be considered good news for Convelio, which has 200 employees, there are signs of recovery. A Bath & Company report finds that luxury goods in general in 2021 were the first to recover to 2019 levels, driven by the easing of pandemic restrictions and lockdown-inspired home improvements and mixed living and working spaces.

Convelio employees pose for a photo.

Coinciding with the rebound, venture capital (VC) firms are pumping money into the broader shipping logistics space as potential solutions for supply chain efficiency gain prominence. According to Pitchbook, VCs pledged $12.6 billion to supply chain technology startups in North America and Europe alone in 2020 through more than 500 deals. Grand View Search predicted that the global transportation management systems market will reach $27.48 billion by 2028.

Convelio says it was responsible for 14,000 shipments last year with a cumulative value of $265 million. The company’s annual recurring revenues have been multiplied by 2.5 while its workforce has grown to 200 people.

Convelio says it plans to explore other market segments where “[its] expertise in shipping large, valuable and fragile items” can be leveraged.

“Since launching in 2017, we’ve seen an average compound annual growth rate of 98% in revenue, and in 2021 alone, revenue grew 2.5x,” Gouin said. “The vast majority of revenue from the fine art shipping market, a $4 billion opportunity, accrues to traditional and low-tech incumbents and that is what we are looking for to begin with. Our Competitive Advantage has always been about creating the best experience for our customers by leveraging technology.We are more than one step ahead, so we will continue to keep our heads down, continue to work on shipping more and faster , to provide the ultimate artwork shipping experience.

Forestay and Mundi Ventures co-led the latest Convelio round, with participation from Acton Capital and Global Founders Capital.

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