Packhelp's record fundraising, or why you should learn from the printers?

Packhelp, a key player in Web-to-Pack, raises €40 million!

It was the news at the end of November. Packhelp has (again) raised funds. And this time, they announced 40 million euros!

To help you understand, here’s what we can tell you about Packhelp:

  • Created in 2015, Packhelp is one of the specialists in Web-to-Pack
  • Has 250 employees (and probably double that number within 3 years!)
  • Announces 50,000 customers in about 30 countries! An average of 10,000 new customers every year!
  • Named as the fastest growing technology company in Central Europe in 2020, in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranking
  • Does not disclose the number of vendors in their “marketplace”; we assume the bulk of their community is from Eastern Europe, with an aggressive pricing position for Western European customers.
  • Revenues are unknown, but according to our estimates, Packhelp is expected to generate around €1 million in monthly revenues with a double or triple-digit growth.

What are they going to do with those 40 million? Why it matters to you!

Innovate and expand their product offering
More products, more choices and a strong focus on “eco-designed” products. This is how Packhelp intends to retain and attract tens of thousands of new customers.

Continue their development in Europe and the UK
We told you, they are coming. Fast and strong. Better yet, they are already here. We’re sure you’ve already received a request from them to see if you can manufacture for them. What did you tell them?

Building services for large enterprises
We knew Packhelp was great at small runs for startups and SMBs. But they are not going to stop there. Attacking the market of mid-sized companies and large corporations is definitely part of their strategy. They have already announced to work with multinationals such as H&M and Uber Eats.

Invest twice as much in technology
They are convinced that their technology-first approach will allow them to attract more customers and innovative suppliers. And only automation enables hyper-acceleration.

For us, these signals should push you to react before it’s too late. Remember the story of the emergence of Web-to-Print.

Back to the rise of Web-to-Print?

Over the past two decades, the printing industry has undergone a major transformation and has seen its economy disrupted by the Web-to-Print players. Today, their model has become the norm. Today, nearly 25% of the commercial printing market is 100% online. That’s more than 2.5 billion euros in turnover on a European scale.

How did we get here? How did Web-to-Print manage to establish itself so quickly in the competitive printing market?

In the 90s, the printing industry was not concerned about the Internet. The potential of this new sales channel was misunderstood and underestimated, especially because printers thought their products were too technical to be sold online. At the time, printing a document was not a smooth process and required a certain amount of willingness and involvement on the part of the buyer. Only a few visionaries thought it would be possible to order a print from a website. 

In the 2000s, the printing sector underwent a crisis with the deportation of an increasingly important part of the advertising investments of their customers on the Web (especially emailing). The printers will then engage in a fratricidal price war that will lead to the bankruptcy of many players in the field.

In spite of the perilous situation in which the printers find themselves, they still do not perceive the Web as an interesting sales channel and believe that those who launch there go straight into the wall. However, it was in those years that online printing had its first successes, with a few forward-thinking printers initially offering small runs to their customers.

In the years that followed, Web-to-Print became the new standard.

The competitive advantages that allowed the rise of the Web-to-Print giants

Vistaprint, Exaprint, Helloprint, and many others have disrupted the printing industry. They relied on the industrial base of printing partners to finally become printers.

If they have consolidated the market so quickly, it is because the contribution of Web technologies to the printing sector has been more than significant:

Simplicity/fastness of purchase for the customer

 More autonomous and flexible customers, while feeling paradoxically more accompanied

 A customer base without geographical boundaries

 Instant payment of orders on an E-Commerce site, avoiding payment defaults, and simplifying cash flow  

 Automated production processes that reduce costs

 An expansive logic, allowing them to invest in more and more efficient technologies

 The impersonation of the Internet, which has allowed a massive consolidation of the market by turning small independent printers into subcontractors

Is the history of printing happening again?

With a lot of fundraising, players like Packhelp invest massively in the acquisition of new customers and offer very aggressive prices, even if it means strangling their suppliers. Industrialists like you.

And they are not alone:, Pixar Printing, Labelprint24, Self Packaging, and many others are attacking your market share. And they’re moving fast.

Everything suggests that Web-to-Pack is the future of Web-to-Print. One looks every bit like the other in the early 2000s, with packaging manufacturers downplaying the impact the Internet can have on their business. So packaging manufacturers must react now to avoid finding themselves in the same situation as some traditional printers, who now find themselves almost exclusively subcontractors to Web-to-Printers.

We are in a time of threats and opportunities for the packaging industry:

If there’s one thing we agree with Packhelp, it’s that we are living in “one of the most turbulent times in the recent history of the packaging industry. The industry is experiencing one of the most significant waves of disruption in decades […]. There has never been a better time to be part of an innovative packaging company.”

On the other hand, we believe that you, the manufacturers, must not let the E-tailers dictate the laws and conditions of packaging business innovation. You must be part of this disruption by investing in the technologies, processes, and skills that will enable you to acquire and retain your customers with a complete online experience that is consistent with your daily operations.

In a forthcoming article, we will provide you with a summary of what we believe to be your best response to this – in our opinion – inevitable rise of the Web-to-Pack.

In the meantime, our team of experts is at your disposal to advise you and help you make the transition of your business online.