Fintech & e-commerce Retail and Direct To Consumer

Exclusive: Boox Raises $9.25M Series A To Make Cardboard Boxes Obsolete

Illustration of delivery boxes outside a door. [Li Anne Dias]

Boox, a sustainable e-commerce infrastructure company, bagged $9.25 million in Series A funding to continue developing its platform for creating reusable shipping boxes.

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Matt Semmelhack co-founded the company in 2020 to tackle the mountain of cardboard boxes we all get — that don’t always get recycled. He started in the food delivery space, where customers began getting upset when their meal kits created more trash than they saved. In fact, that excess waste was one of the top reasons people began canceling their subscriptions, Semmelhack told Crunchbase News.

“In our case, we were a plant-based company, so our mission was to battle climate change, but we were sending all of this material that became trash,” he added. “I was interested in reducing our waste by transitioning to reusables, and so was the company.”

REN shipment in a “boox.”

So Semmelhack started Boox, a patent-pending shipping box that enables brands and consumers to keep cardboard out of the waste system by creating a circular economy.

Valor Siren Ventures led the Series A and was joined by investors, including Village Global and Kid VC. Boox previously raised a $2 million seed from Wave Capital to give it a total of just over $11 million in funding, according to Crunchbase data.

“We are thrilled to lead this funding round for Boox as they work to reduce the hundreds of billions of cardboard boxes shipped around the world each year,” said Jon Shulkin, fund manager for Valor Siren Ventures, in a written statement. “The Boox leadership team has tapped into a growing desire by retailers and consumers alike to clean up e-commerce. This is the future of sustainable shipping.”

Approximately 80 percent of products sold in the United States and Europe are packaged in cardboard, and in the U.S. alone, 850 million tons of paper and cardboard are thrown away annually. That amount will only increase as e-commerce sales grow, which Semmelhack estimates is 20 percent per year.

By shifting to Boox, he said, an impact is made with the first shipment, and after 10 shipments, Boox’s circular reuse model cuts the impact from cardboard boxes by 75 percent, on average. The company shipped out 50,000 “booxes” in the past month, which are shipped back to the company for reuse. Semmelhack is planning to launch curbside pickup and other incentive programs to encourage people to return booxes.

With the new funding, Semmelhack intends to grow the Boox team and expand offerings. It currently serves the continental U.S., and he plans to expand into Canada and the United Kingdom by later this year.

“There will be 200 billion cardboard boxes shipped this year, and even if a fraction were Boox, it would be a big market,” he added. “The idea here is that market could be served by a finite number of booxes.”

Inset photo courtesy of Boox.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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