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Why Ikea’s Owner Poured Millions Into EV-Loving Startup

Last mile services company GoBolt aims to put its Series C funding to work as it aims for an ambitious goal of creating a sustainable supply chain network. 

The Toronto company said last week it closed on $75 million CAD, or $55.2 million, in funding. That brings its total raised to date to $222.5 million CAD, or $163.9 million. 

“GoBolt has always taken pride in being an innovative force within an antiquated industry—we’re constantly keeping an eye on what’s next, while also creating a more sustainable future for the logistics industry,” GoBolt CEO and co-founder Mark Ang said. 

GoBolt provides companies across industries a trio of three core services within the last mile: fulfillment, delivery and reverse logistics. It counts companies such as Ikea, sustainable fashion label Frank And Oak and contemporary furniture retailer Rove Concepts as customers. 

The funding round was led by Yaletown Venture Partners and Export Development Canada. EDC also led a $71.7 million Series C-1 for Calgary warehouse robotics firm Attabotics in November as more and more businesses tend to their back-end to make sustainable improvements. 

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“The ability to provide carbon negative, high-capacity solutions, seamlessly integrated with merchant operations is resonating with North American brands,” Yaletown Partners partner Eric Bukovinsky said of GoBolt’s services. 

Ingka Investments, which has invested in GoBolt in the past, also participated in the latest funding round. The company is part of Ingka Group, the largest Ikea franchisee. 

“[The investment] represents another step in enabling all Ingka Group home deliveries to be made by electric or zero emissions vehicles by 2025,” Ingka Investments managing director Peter van der Poel said. 

GoBolt’s longer-term vision for itself is creating what it calls a “first-party” supply chain in which it acts as the bridge across warehousing and transportation services, which is currently handled by hundreds of competing businesses. 

Ang said the capital will help in expanding GoBolt’s fleet of electric vehicles and charging stations, along with warehouse automation. 

Its footprint will see further grow in both Canada and the U.S. in markets such as Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, New York and New Jersey. 

GoBolt said it’s set a goal for itself to be able to tout a vehicle fleet offering carbon negative deliveries by the end of next year. 

In September GoBolt and Frank And Oak struck a strategic partnership to offer consumers carbon-neutral, same-day and next-day deliveries. The rollout began with Canadian customers, where Frank And Oak is based, with the company using GoBolt’s electric delivery vehicles for the deliveries. In cases where an electric vehicle can’t be used, the companies said carbon offsets will be purchased. 

The Montreal fashion company has built a brand around sustainability, utilizing eco-friendly materials, such as oyster shells or making denim with no rivets to ease the recycling process. Thus, the work with GoBolt is just one part of a holistic approach to more mindful fashion for Frank And Oak.

“When you talk about sustainability and awareness with customers, there’s always a spectrum,” Frank And Oak CEO Dustin Jones, who also heads up the company’s parent Unified Commerce Group, told Sourcing Journal at the time of the GoBolt deal’s announcement. “There are the 10 percent that are enablers of change, promoters of change and the greatest critics of companies who have not changed. Then there’s the opposite, which are those that don’t care at all and don’t see the value in what you’re doing, and then there’s that group in the middle. So what we think about doing is, on one side we’re innovating and innovation for us is not just cross-selling product or logistics. It’s looking at our entire business and saying, ‘How can we do better?’”