Donald Boone knew it was time to leave Corporate America when he saw an overlooked market within the B2B world.
While working with Amazon Business, the procurement side of the e-commerce giant’s operation, he saw first-hand how brands didn’t have any easy way to rent out their equipment.
“If you have something to sell…you go and sell it on Amazon. But if you own your brand and you want to build a commerce experience and your own website, you turn to companies like Shopify,” Boone said. And while Shopify’s platform and integrations make it easy for businesses to start selling, it simply doesn’t meet the needs of businesses renting out equipment, he added.
Beyond just shipping requirements, rental companies have to think about insurance, credit card holds, bundling products, and, of course, the logistics required to get everything back in one piece.
Equipment rental is big in the motion picture industries as sets often rent out camera kits and gear. But it is also important for those with electrical equipment, power generators, shipping containers, and other heavy machinery items.
He knew it would be hard for more established e-commerce platforms to change their platform to support the complex rental process. So after receiving an angel investment from a friend and fellow Amazon employee, Boone started BoxedUp to streamline the B2B rental process.
BoxedUp launched as a marketplace last November with a focus on the camera equipment space. But Boone said the team quickly realized that customers wanted the ability to manage the rental process right on their own website. B2B rental companies can now do that by licensing the platform’s technology through BoxedUp Storefront. Storefront allows businesses with rental equipment to manage inventory, invoices, orders, and delivery logistics in one spot.
More than a dozen businesses from across the country have already signed up for Storefront since launching this summer, Boone told Hypepotamus.
Building A New Type of Storefront
Originally from the Washington DC area, Boone graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University before building up his career in Texas and Washington State.
This isn’t the first time Boone has found himself in the startup world. In 2015 he founded Oleo, a photo-based menu app that streamlined restaurant payment and ordering. While the startup eventually shut down, he said the experience gave him “the confidence to go and take even more big bets” on himself.
While BoxedUp was founded in Seattle, Boone said moving the operations to Atlanta – a city known as a B2B and logistics startup hub – was important as the company continues to grow. And Boone has wasted no time getting connected to the local startup scene. The platform has a partnership with Roadie, the delivery platform that was acquired by UPS, for its same-day logistics need. It has also attracted the attention of local investment firms like Collab Capital and Outlander VC, who joined BoxedUp’s $2.3 million seed round in 2022.
A lot of BoxedUp’s early employees also previously worked at Amazon, and its roster includes a mix of full-time and contractors living in Atlanta, Seattle, Orlando, and Phoenix.
Now with a focus on the Storefront part of the business, Boone is back on the fundraising circuit to bring on investors who are passionate about ecommerce, the circular economy, sustainable logistics, and “empowering other entrepreneurs to make money.”