A Dallas area startup is reaping the benefits of its local community, with Mark Cuban, Deep Space Ventures, and angel investors pouring $1 million of capital into the company.
It’s the largest funding round yet for Farmers Branch-based Selery Fulfillment, which was founded in 2014 by Justin White and Jason Taylor to focus on warehousing and customized fulfillment for e-commerce companies.
White, the startup’s CEO, said Selery began by accident. While selling his own products, a customer approached White about storing and shipping his own products after he outgrew his garage.
“We put up a few ads on Craigslist to see if other businesses/people needed it and it turns out they did,” White told Dallas Innovates in 2016.
In September, while participating in Tech Wildcatters’ milestone-driven Gauntlet program, Selery raised $350,000 in seed funding and became one of the program’s initial graduates.
The startup’s latest $1 million funding round was led by Deep Space Ventures’ $510,000 investment. The Dallas venture capital fund previously invested in Selery through Tech Wildcatters. Cuban, whose Shark Tank companies have been using Selery for fulfillment services, put in $300,000. The remaining amount came from local angel investors.
“It was a no-brainer to me to lead this round, and put more money in the business,” Deep Space Ventures managing partner Stephen Hays told Dallas Innovates. “We’ll be ready to put more money in the business again when they raise another round down the road.”
Hays, who also serves as a board member for the fulfillment company, said there’s been considerable interest from local investors in Selery. Some who didn’t make it into the capped funding round last fall, stepped into the recent $1 million round. He said he’s never seen funding come together so quickly.
“Anybody who says they can’t raise money in Dallas is making an excuse,” Hays said. “Great businesses with great founders that are growing and proving product market set and companies that are creating traction, are going to have no problem raising money in Dallas from Dallas investors.”
White emailed Cuban directly, which eventually led to the investment from the Dallas billionaire.
“They are well-positioned to be a leader in the logistics space,” Cuban said in an interview with D CEO’s Danielle Abril. “They not only have great technology and people, but I think hiring rather than contracting will give them a performance and cost advantage.”
Hays has been impressed with the startup’s rapid growth, which has exceeded his expectations.
The company made $577,000 in 2016 and is expected to finish this year with up to $2 million in revenue. White said monthly revenue has increased by 1,200 percent in the last 12 months.
In December 2016, Selery pulled in $113,000 in revenue. Based on White’s projections, it could quadruple that number for December 2017.
“That’s pretty incredible growth for a company at that stage. It just goes to show you that [White] built a great business and there’s a lot of market demand for the service he’s providing,” Hays said.
Selery plans to use the new funding to secure three to four times more warehouse space and add significantly to its current 15-member team. It also will launch its first marketing efforts.
Up until about four months ago, White said Selery’s Farmers Branch warehouse didn’t even have signage or a phone line.
White said Selery is planning further expansion in the logistics space.
In the near future, it will be launching a freight platform for its customers that offers price comparisons from different companies all in one place. It’s also planning to push a storage platform it’s been using.
“We are positioning ourselves as a one-stop shop [for e-commerce companies]. Once you have your product, we can do everything. We can do the freight, we can do the shipping, we have a site you can get a quote on everything, and we can do storage,” White said.
White said the growth has come with help from the Dallas startup community including Tech Wildcatters and folks such as Hays and another mentor, Michael Martin.
Selery’s Dallas-fueled support is a testament to the area’s startup ecosystem, Hays said.
“This is a Dallas startup that was helped along by a Dallas accelerator and has been funded by Dallas investors. It’s a great story for what we are all working together to build in this ecosystem,” Hays told D CEO.
Julia Batlle contributed to this report.
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