In Race for Dominance, Tech Beats Retail, Boxed CEO Says

April 17, 2019

By Spencer Feingold

For consumers struggling to get big, bulky purchases in their cars or on the bus, Boxed has been a lifesaver. Now, the wholesale online retailer wants to take its technology to the next level and further challenge traditional retailers in the big-box business.

“We always thought it was a race ー could technology folks like us figure out retail before retail figures out technology,” Chieh Huang, the company’s co-founder and CEO, told the New York Stock Exchange’s executive vice chairman Betty Liu in an interview on Cheddar’s SL[ICE] program.

When Huang first launched Boxed in 2013, many of the large-format consumer products people now order online were not available on Amazon, or on Target.com and Walmart.com. "So there was a real opportunity for us to go in and try something,” Huang said.

Boxed made it possible for consumers to order bulk products online and created a platform for sellers.

In just over five years, Boxed has opened multiple distribution centers across the country that allows the company to deliver everything from bulk paper products to fresh oranges ー sold 13 pounds at a time. The company, which is valued at $600 million, raised $111 million in its latest round of funding last year. That series D round was led by Aeon Co. Ltd, one of the largest grocers in Japan.

Huang said that the company is not looking to acquired and will likely make its public market debut in the near future. “We’ve got our sights set on hopefully ringing the bell here someday,” he said at the New York Stock Exchange.

By using high tech software and machine learning, Huang said Boxed can provide an online platform for suppliers, especially mid-sizes companies that do not have the resources of retail giants.

“Not a lot of people are servicing this part of the industry, and this is where the future is going,” he said.