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- With rising demand for e-commerce, small warehouses near city centers are now highly sought after real estate.
- Bond, a logistics startup, has opened six “nano-warehouses” across New York City, turning vacant retail space into warehouses and making deliveries for direct-to-consumer brands.
- Bond has partnered with four real estate partners to fill vacant space for a flexible amount of time.
- The company has also partnered with SoftBank-backed parking-network Reef Technology to turn parking spaces into “nano-warehouses.”
- Bond plans to expand to two more cities this year, after raising $15 million in January from Lightspeed Venture Partners, MizMaa Ventures, and TLV Partners.
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As the retail economy continues to shift towards e-commerce, the deficiencies of our pre-Amazon logistics system are being made clear.
The last-mile-problem, or the problem of quickly bringing goods from a warehouse to a consumer, has driven a huge increase in demand for light-industrial properties near city centers. These sorts of properties are more scarce — many were converted into lofts as the US economy moved away from manufacturing and toward a service economy—and are now being hit by steady rent increases as demand outstrips supply.
A New York by way of Tel Aviv startup, Bond, has developed one potential model to solve the problem. The company turns hard-to-rent real estate, and parking spaces owned by SoftBank-backed parking operator startup Reef Technology, into “nano-warehouses.”
Direct-to-consumer brands that partner with Bond ship their products to these warehouses, and Bond employees riding electric tricycles deliver the products to the consumer’s doorstep.
Bond, founded in 2019, raised $15 million in funding in January of this year from Lightspeed Venture Partners, MizMaa Ventures, and TLV Partners. Other than the partnership with Reef Technology, the company has also signed partnerships with four real estate partners and more than 25 direct-to-consumer brands including fresh dog-food delivery company Pet Plate and CBD-extract company RCVR.
Bond integrates into a brand’s e-commerce platform, and uses that information to calculate how many items they will hold in each warehouse, and where each warehouse should go.
Bond’s vision for e-commerce is that the company can become the Shopify of logistics: a light, easy-to-integrate platform that doesn’t directly compete with the brands they work with. Shopify, an e-commerce platform that provides back office and fulfillment support for online direct to consumer companies, allows brands to keep transactions on their own website, instead of on a marketplace like Amazon.
Asaf Hachmon, CEO and co-founder, compared Bond to Amazon as “democracy” versus “dictatorship,” a comparison he also extended to Shopify versus Amazon.
We toured a Bond micro warehouse, which used to be a barbershop, in Manhattan, one of five on the island and six in New York City. See the tour, and more about the company’s model, below.
Bond cofounders Asaf Hachmon and Michael Osadon got the idea for Bond from their previous startup, Shookit, a direct-to-consumer grocery company.
Bond’s pitch to brands is that the delivery experience is an essential part of customer retention. Here’s a Bond delivery person getting ready to deliver an order.
Bond is based on the server farm model, using algorithms to calculate the ideal capacity of each warehouse in the network. This screen displays upcoming deliveries that have been routed to this site.
Bond’s founders say the company is not a real estate company, but it partners with landlords to operate out of hard-to-lease space. This location is based in an old barbershop.
Instead of delivering with trucks, Bond uses electric tricycles to deliver. They’re a key part of Bond’s money-saving strategy.
Bond says it can set up a new location in less than a week. The company has six New York City locations, and plans to expand this year.