Why we Invested in Convelio

Convelio continues to establish itself as a key logistics enabler for the Art industry

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Two weeks ago, we announced that we were partnering with Convelio, leading their $35M Series B. The Paris-based, full-stack digital freight-forwarder specialises in shipping high-value goods with complex logistics chains and has a mission of becoming the global leader in its ecosystem. In this blog post we share some of the reasons we decided to partner with founders, Edouard and Clement, and their exceptional team.

Beyond Product-Market Fit

As early-growth stage investors, one of the key things we look for when considering an investment is proof of strong Product-Market Fit. Just four years into its journey to become the logistics backbone of the art world, Convelio has supported over 3,000 customers, partnered with some of the biggest names, like Sotheby’s, Christies and 1stDibs, and quickly expanded into these accounts – strong validation of their original value hypothesis. But what struck us as we learned more about Convelio was just how critical the team had become to some of their client’s operations. One of the customers we interviewed said they would need to, “double the size of their Operations team” if they didn’t use Convelio. Another said the company had “revolutionised” the way they did business. This type of customer love goes beyond Product Market Fit – Convelio is becoming an essential cog in the art world’s infrastructure.

Deep insight into a problem

Edouard and Clement started their careers at Rocket Internet, where they worked for their COO, Adrian Frenzel, who now runs global operations at Gorillas, the last mile logistics unicorn. They developed a deep understanding of start-up operations and quickly went on to build e-commerce companies in fine arts, one of their shared passions. Through this experience, Edouard and Clement found that whereas some e-commerce verticals allowed for quick, smooth and affordable shipping and logistics, the art industry did not. This makes intuitive sense given the logistical complexity of shipping art – practically every shipped item varies in size, fragility, value, and delivery requirements. As a result, it typically takes an art vendor days to simply provide their customers with a quote for a given shipment, which forces art buyers to make purchasing decisions based on a price subject to significant change. Having experienced this pain first hand, Edouard and Clement decided to solve this problem and founded Convelio in 2017.

End-to-end freight forwarding technology

Convelio’s algorithm considers multiple data points, such as dimensions, fragility and value, allowing the company to assemble the most efficient and appropriate logistics chain and subsequent shipment pricing for any given piece of art. It integrates these capabilities via API, allowing art dealers and marketplaces to offer seamless customer experiences, closer to one you would expect in traditional e-commerce verticals. Beyond pricing, Convelio’s solution also automates internal vendor and supplier logistics workflows, like shipment collection, tracking, customs, insurance, and billing to help them run a more efficient operation and provide a better customer experience.

Enabling the art market’s digital transition

The art market has historically operated mostly offline. However, a younger generation of art enthusiasts with modern expectations are starting to pull it into the digital age, leading to the rise of various art and luxury focused marketplaces, such as 1stDibs and Artsy. As with many other industries, Covid-19 further accelerated this shift, partly due to the knock-on supply chain issues that forced the entire logistics space to accelerate its digital transformation. Convelio has successfully positioned itself as a digital enabler, helping small and large galleries, auction houses and art marketplaces navigate and succeed in that shift.

An ambitious vision for Series B and beyond

In just a few years, Convelio has established itself as a key logistics player in the art world and has built an impressive team in the process. Edouard and Clement have recruited an exceptional executive team hailing from leading logistics companies, like DB Schenker and scale-ups such as Uber and WeWork. While the team has established a strong foothold in the art industry in just a few years, we firmly believe they’re only getting started. Convelio will use this Series B funding to double down on tech development, accelerate their growth internationally, and explore other high value verticals beyond art. We feel privileged to be along for the ride!