Atlanta’s cloud supply chain company Stord has been a hot ticket for investors over the last 16 months.
The team has raised $155 million between its Series C in March 2021 and Series D in September 2021, attracting national VC firms like Kleiner Perkins, Bond, Lux Capital, and Salesforce Ventures.
But more investors still wanted in on one of the latest unicorns in the Atlanta market.
While Franklin Templeton was not involved in the original Series D in the fall of last year, the investing giant just led an extension round of $120 million into the company. This brings the startup’s total investments to $325 million with a $1.3 billion valuation. As co-founder and CEO Sean Henry told Hypepotamus, the team wasn’t looking to raise additional capital prior to Franklin Templeton reaching out.
For context, Stord raised its first institutional seed round in April 2019 — a $2.6 million seed round from Chattanooga-based Dynamo, Susa Ventures, and several others.
But Henry said that Franklin Templeton was the right fit for such an extension round because “they are a long-term public equity holder with extensive experience across CPG and retail, and Robert Stevenson, in particular, is incredibly in tune with the logistics industry, having spent a portion of his career as a transportation and logistics analyst in the public market.”
He added that “as we track to build a multi-billion dollar independent company, we’re thrilled to partner with Franklin Templeton. With the majority of its assets public with trillions of dollars under management, Franklin Templeton will be a hugely valuable partner to us as we map toward an eventual IPO.”
The team has added 300 new employees in seven months, with an additional 30 active job openings for its Atlanta headquarters location currently posted. Those openings are across its data, engineering, freight, and business operations departments.
The C-suite and leadership teams have also recently expanded, having attracted new hires who previously worked at Amazon, Bumble, Shippo, and NCR.
While the terms of the Series D extension were not disclosed, adding additional capital is said to help situate the company better financially in the months ahead.
For Henry, Stord’s strength is that it helps companies navigate the “immensely fragmented and asset-based” logistics space.
“Most logistics providers focus on providing solutions that only address one aspect of a company’s supply chain, so companies are relying on a mix of services and systems from different vendors which leads to even more disconnected systems that often ‘don’t play well with each other.’ This makes it hard for brands to compete with supply chain standards set by the likes of Amazon, which is exactly what we’re solving for at Stord. Winning brands need to have each and every element of their supply chains integrated and working interoperably, so they can scale with the ease and elasticity of the cloud. Stord is the only provider that makes that a reality,” he added.
Supply chain funding skyrocketed in the wake of the pandemic, and Crunchbase estimates startups in the vertical raised well over $11 billion total in 2021.