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UShip Raises $18M to Ramp Up Online Marketplace for Shipping Industry

Timothy Hay
December 19, 2012
(c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

As it builds a deluxe version of its service and also takes it mobile, uShip Inc. has raised an $18 million Series C round after attracting new investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the company said.

Joining the funding were return investors Benchmark Capital and DAG Ventures, Chief Executive Matt Chasen said.

The Austin, Texas-based company has raised a total of $28 million since its launch in 2004, said Mr. Chasen, who declined to give a valuation for uShip.The company, which has had its profile boosted by A&E reality-television series Shipping Wars, operates an online marketplace for commercial shipping that the CEO compares to eBay Inc.While not the first to bring booking of such services to the Internet, it is the first to do so without charging subscription fees, Mr. Chasen said, instead monetizing with transaction fees charged to shipping companies after they have sealed a deal.Individuals or businesses looking to ship goods simply enter the parameters of the job on uShip’s website, then take bids from shippers interested in doing the work. Other users name their price, and then select among the companies willing to take the job at the specified price, the CEO said.The site also features a feedback section as other online marketplaces do, so consumers can learn about the shipping companies offering to do the work.

While uShip does not track the exact number of deals that have been made over its site, Mr. Chasen said that together such arrangements have led to $3.5 billion changing hands, with most users shipping freight, household goods and vehicles.

The company will use its new funding to ramp up its uShip Pro service, which offers various incentives to high-frequency users, mostly those in the business-to-business category.

The company will also be coming out with a mobile version of its service, meaning users can do much of the same buying and selling via phones and tablets.

Mr. Chasen said uShip has a presence in 18 countries, and aims to use some of its Series C round on an aggressive push to expand that footprint.

The Series C brings Maritza Liaw, a partner at Kleiner, to uShip’s board of directors, the CEO said.

Write to Timothy Hay at [email protected]

Original article on Dow Jones VentureWire