MetaPack receives £20m backing to aid global growth

Retail delivery management solutions firm MetaPack is eyeing international growth following a £20 million investment from technology and life sciences venture capital firm Index Ventures.

MetaPack has reported average annual revenue growth of 60% over the last four years and the company includes Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Asos among its leading retail client base. The investment announced this week will be used to continue building support and products for existing customers, developing MetaPack's cross-border capabilities and driving growth in Europe, Asia and the US.

Index Ventures has backed a number of prominent tech companies in the past, including Skype,, Asos and Betfair. Its current portfolio consists of more than 150 companies in 20 countries, such as SoundCloud, Dropbox and Funding Circle.

As part of the investment, the venture capital firm's partner Dominique Vidal has become a MetaPack board member, joining the likes of former Best Buy CEO Bob Willett (who will be presenting a conference session at RBTE 2014) and ex-CEO of Tesco Sir Terry Leahy.

CEO and founder of MetaPack Patrick Wall said: "It's our job to make eCommerce delivery easier for the retailer and the consumer and this partnership with Index Ventures will contribute exponentially. 

"Dominique and Index Ventures have precisely the right expertise and experience to help us in developing our international growth strategy."

Vidal said that MetaPack "has changed the face of online logistics" in the UK over the last few years, adding: "Now it is perfectly positioned to repeat that success across Europe and in global markets – we're very excited to be able to help them to do that."

Issues surrounding online retail delivery came to the fore this week, with UK consumer minister Jo Swinson hosting a summit for e-retailers, consumer groups, couriers and enforcement groups on the subject of delivery charges.

It coincided with the publication of a GfK report, commissioned by Consumer Futures, which highlighted the discrepancies between online retail delivery success in urban areas and more remote parts of the UK. The British Retail Consortium is now working with Consumer Futures and other stakeholders to put together a road map for delivery, which it hopes will give retailers and couriers an opportunity to provide clearer information about delivery costs and services.

In an interview with Essential Retail last month, MetaPack's sales & business development director Rob Minns said that the delivery management firm is working on tools that will allow retailers to offer more tailored delivery services to their online shoppers.

Instead of static delivery options on a website, retailers will be able to specify delivery time-slots based on a consumer's individual location and behaviour. The tool is currently in use on the website of chocolate specialist Thorntons, and the solution is viewed by MetaPack as being particularly useful for shoppers who live outside of the major metropolitan areas, where some of the more problematic deliveries occur.

"We've paid a lot of attention to how you can bring real-time options into the website, based on who you are and what you're buying and where you want it delivered," said Minns.

"Because we have the warehouse connected to retailers' websites, we know all the delivery cut-off times and services that they can offer. And because we have the carriers' delivery times we know exactly how many they can take."