Business & invest,
Entrepreneurial culture,
Why do business here

CartonCloud: the birth of a global Gold Coast business

Cartoncloud warehouse scanner

Nick Nichols | July 12, 2022

Gold Coast software company CartonCloud, driven by a rapidly growing customer base over the past two years, has expanded into North America with plans to become a global player in providing software solutions for the logistics industry.

Co-founded in 2012 by Vincent Fletcher and Nic Comrie, CartonCloud has been supporting small to medium-sized logistics companies at a critical time in the industry when logistics have become front of mind for business operators.

Through its cloud-based software, the company now services more than 380 customers around the world with what it describes as an intuitive and easy-to-use warehouse and transport management system that supports business growth, profits and efficiencies. Customers from Asia, Africa, New Zealand and North America are already accessing the software.

CartonCloud’s chief operating officer Shaun Hagen says the move to service North America with a presence on the Canadian west coast in Vancouver follows an increase in inquiries from the region.

“Our business has grown incredibly quickly in the past four years when we have grown from 50 customers in 2018 to more than 380 today,” says Mr Hagen, who will lead the international team in Vancouver.

“Within a year, we certainly expect that the North American region will be the primary source of growth for the business, although we are still very focused on ensuring the continued success of our customers here in Australia and New Zealand through continually improving our product and rolling out new features.”

Shaun Hagen and Vincent Fletcher

Shaun Hagen with staff

Staff in the warehouse

CartonCloud secured a $12 million capital raising from the ASX-listed MA Financial Group last year to fast-track its product roadmap and fund offshore expansion amid a challenging time for the logistics sector.

“Two to three years ago, many people would not have thought of logistics as an essential service but now we realise these are the businesses that keep food on our shelves and even our favourite craft beer in our local bottle shop,” says Mr Hagen.

He compares CartonCloud’s achievements for the logistics industry to those of Xero in the accounting space for small business operators.

“We work specifically with small to medium businesses providing them with a unique software solution to manage their warehouse and transport operations,” says Mr Hagen.

“These tend to be last-mile logistics businesses whose primary service and revenue model may include a warehouse for storing and handling goods from third parties for delivery. That’s where our software comes into its own. It’s cloud-based, very user-friendly and very flexible with a strong mobile app that enables operators to work in the field without the need for specialised hardware.

“It’s quick and easy to set up and very specifically targeted to small businesses allowing them to simply pay for what they need.”

Critical demand for logistics

CartonCloud CEO Vincent Fletcher says that since the pandemic, last-mile logistics services have become critical for businesses looking to get their goods to the market.

“Not only do customers now want their items faster, but greater expectations have emerged for tracking, reporting, and flexible options in ordering and delivery,” he says.

“Consumers expect delivery overnight, placing enormous pressure on last-mile operations. While larger businesses have managed to implement changes relatively quickly, that’s not the case for small and medium-sized logistics businesses. For them, taking on higher demand with faster turnaround while meeting rising operating costs are huge hurdles to overcome.”

It’s a global problem and Mr Hagen believes North American logistics operators are primed to benefit from CartonCloud’s software solutions.

“Our research and market analysis has found that small and medium businesses make up a huge part of the North American logistics market,” he says. “They are suffering from the same pain points in terms of their experience with software providers and we see an opportunity for us to deliver the exact same value proposition in North America that has made us so successful in Australia.”

Growing on the Gold Coast

The company’s expansion plans reflect the growth of the CartonCloud business since it relocated to the Gold Coast in 2015, shortly after the company was established.

Mr Fletcher, a software engineer, founded CartonCloud after acquiring a financially struggling refrigerated transport business in Sydney with his business partner Nic Comrie. They built the initial software to better manage their own business’ logistics operations by automating as much as possible, including data entry, electronic proof-of-delivery capture, rate cards and invoicing.

The success of the software was reflected in the turnaround of fortunes for the refrigerated logistics provider. It highlighted the need for other businesses to have access to powerful, affordable management software designs specifically for small-medium logistics enterprises. After the partners sold the business, Mr Fletcher established CartonCloud to service the broader logistic market through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

“Back then, small and medium players were relying on phone calls, text messages and faxes to receive orders, and they were running their logistics businesses on spreadsheets and paper— so being able to do away with all of this manual data entry and bring their businesses into the emerging digital economy is a big transformation for them,” says Mr Fletcher.

“We can work with most systems people are using and that means small businesses can take up our software instantly. We also removed spreadsheets and paper from company operations without the need to pay high enterprise rates for our software.

“CartonCloud’s software has enabled smaller logistics operators to offer greater value and a better experience for their customers. It also allows them to compete with larger players and win larger accounts and means these vital small and medium-sized businesses can continue to operate and prosper, despite wider industry challenges.”

A recruitment asset

The Gold Coast became the obvious choice for the partners to grow CartonCloud as they were attracted by the quality of life the city affords.

“It was also an attractive place to start a technology company because of the easy access to the airport and to major markets like Brisbane,” says Mr Fletcher. “The support of the Queensland Government has helped drive our success in recent years after we successfully accessed venture capital through the Queensland Business Development Fund.”

Mr Hagen even sees the Gold Coast as a valuable asset when it comes to enlisting quality recruits for the company’s North American operations.

“We have just secured our first two appointments in Canada and they recently spent two weeks on the Gold Coast for training,” he says.

“We also just had our first back-to-base event in more than two years when we had team members from all over the world including the Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand return to our Gold Coast headquarters for a week.”

“It’s so valuable to have our staff come together here at our Gold Coast HQ, to reconnect with the broader team, and to stay in touch with the Gold Coast culture that we are proud of.  This means giving them the full tourist experience, including a visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Springbrook, beach volleyball, and even a Gold Coast Suns game.”

CartonCloud has a team of more than 50 staff working around the world including more than 30 on the Gold Coast.

“Although we have expanded our global perspective, we are still very much a Gold Coast company and I believe this has become a great selling point in a competitive jobs market as we expand into North America,” says Mr Hagen. “People over there are very excited about the idea of an annual trip or two to the sunny Gold Coast and that’s been a recruitment bonus for us.”

Mr Fletcher sees the Gold Coast as integral to CartonCloud’s corporate DNA.

“We could train our people remotely but we’re about creating personal relationships with our team. We’re inspired to take the culture and energy of the team we have built on the Gold Coast and spread it throughout our organisation no matter where our people are based,” he says.

Keep up to date with all things Gold Coast and subscribe here.