Expanding HUBBED’s network – and acquiring its biggest competitor

It’s no mean feat to become an alternative parcel pick-up and drop-off service for big brands like Amazon, Zara, eBay and the Iconic.

In just over the decade since it was founded, HUBBED, a technology company that provides a parcel collection network, has done just that.

And since the Australian Business Growth Fund (ABGF) first invested in the company in June 2022, HUBBED has branched out in ways that it couldn’t have before – with new processes, team members and a significant new acquisition. 

For a small business like HUBBED, especially one that’s scaling up, a lot can change in a year.

Transforming last mile delivery and returns

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together,” late entrepreneur James Cash Penney once said.

Entrepreneur David McLean, the CEO and founder of HUBBED, is one of those forces.

With a vision of transforming the sustainability of last mile delivery and returns, he created a technology integration into eCommerce platforms, and a parcel delivery and returns network all over Australia.

And since ABGF and HUBBED joined forces, HUBBED has expanded its capability, bolstered its team and performance through new processes, structure and discipline – and even acquired its biggest competitor.

Becoming Australia’s largest national alternative parcel pick-up and drop-off network

In late 2022, HUBBED acquired Parcelpoint – which had been its most significant competitor in the market.

“We were in a position to leverage our great carrier relationships and economies of scale, and provide a true national alternative network for customers, retailers and the logistics industry,” David McLean said.

With the acquisition, HUBBED has become Australia’s largest national alternative parcel pick-up and drop-off option for consumers.

It’s an impressive milestone. One that, according to David, the company couldn’t have reached without ABGF. ABGF’s investment team worked alongside HUBBED to drive and manage the acquisition process. They also provided strategic guidance and support immediately following the acquisition to enable smooth integration of Parcelpoint into HUBBED.

“ABGF helped us take the strategic approach we needed to consider this acquisition in our growth and development ambitions. They empowered us to take on Parcelpoint and supported us as we joined together with their team and operations,” David said.

Follow-on funding from ABGF also helped assist HUBBED with the transition.

Bolstering the HUBBED team

HUBBED employs about 25 staff in its Sydney-based offices. David has noticed that, since teaming up with ABGF, HUBBED employee retention and engagement has been strong.

“Being an investee company of ABGF has provided the HUBBED team with additional support, certainty and resources. It’s also given us greater credibility when recruiting new staff that we need to drive our ongoing growth,” David said.

ABGF’s team also helped HUBBED to identify its leadership needs within the organisation, and to recruit key positions, including those in the finance department.

“There’s an amazing network that ABGF has opened up to us – with new competencies, and people who encourage me to consider decisions in ways that I typically wouldn’t. This includes how we hire people and the way that we think about who we need in the business,” David said.

Making governance ‘more than just a word’

Since joining with ABGF, governance has become ‘more than just a word’ to him, David admitted.

With new processes, rigour and structure, HUBBED has evolved its framework to accommodate its increasing scale.

“It’s been wonderful to work with David and to enhance the business-wide visibility into HUBBED’s operations. We have fantastic, robust discussions around avenues for growth, operational initiatives, and managing risk,” said Ghazaleh Lyari, ABGF Co-Head of Investments and board member of HUBBED.

New processes and operations have also fast-tracked data collection and enabled more accurate business decisions.

With improved systems in place, HUBBED is getting close to real time visibility around the outcome of business decisions – information that previously took 45 to 60 days to collect. This has enhanced the company’s ability to make fast, informed decisions in areas such as pricing and cash management.

“I genuinely feel like the people I deal with at ABGF are in it to help me. I like the fact that there is a meeting or milestone at the end of the month that helps me to be a little bit more focused around what I’m doing,” David said.

“When you’ve been doing what you want to do for ten years and making all the decisions by yourself, it can become very lonely. Sometimes you just want people around you that are giving you a bit of help and guidance. It’s a level of accountability that works well for me,” he added.

For Ghazaleh, HUBBED’s unique value proposition and its great ambitions for growth make it an exciting company to be a part of. But there’s more to it than that.

“There is something special about HUBBED. The business enables a more sustainable logistics ecosystem. It also has the community’s interests at heart – supporting and uplifting other small businesses by bringing them into the parcel collection network. It’s a privilege to work with this team and to contribute to their ongoing growth,” she said.

“I’m very passionate about HUBBED and what we do there. But passion doesn’t always translate to great strategy,” David conceded. “So, I need great people to help me with that. That’s where I’m lucky to have ABGF. I genuinely believe engaging with ABGF’s team is the best decision we made as a business.”

Hear more from David McLean, as he shares his advice for business founders at the beginning of their journey. Read and listen to his top 12 tips for startups. 

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