Expedia and Weyerhaeuser vets get $5 million from the Seattle-based lumber market Yesler

The story: Yesler is a Seattle-based company that has created an Expedia-like user experience for unstable lumber market via a platform that is software-enabled received $5 million in funding.

The technology:Founded in October 2019, Yesler spun out from the start-up studio Pioneer Square Labs and offers a platform to facilitate transactions with lumber as well as communications with various companies in the industry. Additionally, it gathers data to provide analysis of the market for lumber including demand and supply to aid buyers and sellers in making decisions. The aim is making comparing prices on lumber just as simple as finding most affordable hotel rate on Expedia.

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The challenges:Less than a year following the launch of the company the company had to contend with an unstable housing market, as well as changing price of lumber due to strained supply chains as well as the global pandemic. The turmoil in the industry held back the adoption of Yesler because professionals in the industry did not have time to play around with the new method, Yesler founder Matt Meyers stated to Business Headers through an email.

“We made great progress despite those challenges and look forward to more normal volatility and supply chain challenges as a tailwind in tech adoption for this traditional industry,” said the CEO.

The positives:Meyers says the the amount of people working in the field who have experience making use of Yesler’s platform Yesler platform has grown over the last year as well as transactions made on the marketplace growing 10 times over. He said the vast lumber industry is dispersed and prone to disruption, which creates an market that is accessible for the company to target.

The clients lumber traders use Yesler to coordinate buying, selling and merchandising timber, Meyers said. The company can also manage communications in addition to the finding out the price as well as availability of wood. Another possible use for Yesler is for contractors who own lumber yards. Yesler offers supply chain data and other market information, which will improve efficiency and increase the company’s profits, he explained.

The business earns its revenue by charging a fee per transaction. Prices are not changing, which means sellers can set their price prior to each transaction, and the buyer is aware that the price was set by the seller and not Yesler.

Its team members: The 13-person company was established by Meyers who had previously served as the vice for sales marketing, supply chain and marketing in Seattle’s Weyerhaeuser. Meyers was with CTO Jeff Lubetkin who came from Expedia and Zillow where he managed and scaled engineering teams. He is also joined by Executive Vice President David Helmers who was the former head of Weyerhaeuser’s $1.5 billion distribution of building materials business. The cash infusion will be used to increase the capacity of its software engineering department as well as its user experience teams.

The challenge:The company could theoretically be in competition with established lumber dealers who may create their own technology-enabled systems within their own. There are a variety of companies aiming to compete in this market, like MaterialsXchange, a Chicago-based company. MaterialsXchange.

The Funders: The company raised $10.2 million so far. The latest round was directed by Crosslink Capital, with participation from its existing shareholders PSL Ventures, Tech Square Ventures and Ascend. Phil Boyer, director of Crosslink Capital, will join the Yesler board of directors as part of the round of funding.

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