Our thoughts on Royal Mail Acquiring NetDespatch


On the 21st of December 2015, Royal Mail announced their acquisition of NetDespatch. For those of you that do not know NetDespatch, they are SaaS company that helps carriers provide an interface to their customers with the end-goal of creating shipping labels.

As well as integrating directly with Royal Mail's API, Shiptheory also partners with NetDespatch to provide an alternative to Royal Mail customers who prefer to use NetDespatch as middle-ware.

NetDespatch have been around for a long time in the U.K. At the time of the Royal Mail acquisition in December, their business model was to charge carriers for it's services based on usage by NetDespatch partners, such as Shiptheory. In an age of customer subscriptions and freemium, the business model in play here is an interesting one. NetDespatch work with a number of carriers and we do not have numbers on volume, but our hunch is that the Royal Mail is NetDespatch biggest customer.

What it means for NetDespatch Royal Mail Customers

If you are already using NetDespatch and Royal Mail with Shiptheory, you can continue as before. NetDespatch have been seeking investment for some time. It would make sense that Royal Mail's acquisition would lead to the least disruption possible for Royal Mail customers currently using NetDespatch.

What it means for other Carriers using NetDespatch

Royal Mail are not the only carrier that use NetDespatch as middle-ware to bridge the gap between their internal systems and customers. NetDespatch have promptly announced that the other carriers they support will also go unaffected.

NetDespatch say:

"Following this acquisition we will be operating at arms-length, as a standalone external-facing subsidiary, enabling us to continue to securely provide services to all of our existing carrier customers and partners."

Sharing Thoughts

To us, it makes perfect sense that Royal Mail would acquire NetDespatch. If the investment attempts by NetDespatch went another way, the disruption to Royal Mail customers could be severe.

Please let us know your thoughts, questions or concerns using the comments box below.