Disrupting the freight industry with Big Data, this company is making waves
Continuing their mission to make international freight shipping more transparent and efficient, Jerusalem-based Freightos announced today that they had brought in $25 million as part of a Series B extension round.
Leading the funding was GE Ventures who see their investment in the startup as a strategic investment, integral to their global business that relies heavily on shipping and logistics. “The larger theme of freight digitalization is a strong strategic complement for General Electric’s role as the world’s leading digital industrial company,” explains Jonathan Pulitzer, managing director of GE Ventures in Israel.
Along with GE, previous investors including Aleph VC, Annox Capital, Gold Lion Holdings Limited, ICV, Master (HK) Toys, MSR Capital, OurCrowd, Sadara Ventures, and others, participated in the round, bringing Freightos to a total of $50 million in lifetime funding.
According to a statement in their release, Freightos intends to use the funds to scale their marketplace globally while continuing development of their software suite of global freight pricing, routing, and sales automation.
CEO Zvi Schreiber founded the Jerusalem-based company in late 2011. Having previously worked at an electronics company, Schreiber was astounded at how cumbersome it was to organize basic shipments from China to the United States, perhaps the most chartered shipping route in recent decades.
In the past, companies looking to send shipments relied on complicated Excel sheets for matching times and routes to determine prices. This system was opaque and left all but a few in the dark, making shipping both inexcusably expensive and ghastly inefficient.
What has emerged from Freightos is a cloud-based repository where the new prices and details are uploaded to help their clients sort through the large quantities of data more efficiently, helping them provide clients with instant quotes.
Having launched their product in July 2016, they now have over 1,000 global logistics providers around the world working on their marketplace platform.
The company has experienced significant growth over the past year and a half since the announcement of the first part of their $14 million Series B in September 2015. They have nearly doubled their staff to a team of around 150 across their five global locations, including sales offices in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Germany. They have also expanded the routes that they cover from the massive China-US line to include imports from India and greater South East Asia. The company tells Geektime that they are looking at expanding even further, including Europe, in the near future.
Why I find this company fascinating
While a frequent critique of “disruptors” like Uber and Airbinb who cause havoc in industries, I feel drawn to companies like Freightos who find ways to breath new life into an old industry and make it work better. Shipping is one of the oldest industries in the world and is due for some much-needed changes.
Even as more of our cash goes to digital services like Netflix and Audible, the physical items that we touch and interact with every day are still reliant on someone shipping it between points A and B. “Freight seems boring,” says Eytan Buchman Freightos’ director of marketing. “I didn’t dream about growing up and running marketing at a logistics technology company. But freight shipping is literally what puts everything at your fingertips. Your clothing, your food, your cellphone – by air, land and ocean, everything is shipped. It’s the underlying infrastructure of the global economy but for most people, it’s just Season 2 of The Wire. Freight connects the world.”
By drawing available sources of Big Data into one easy to use platform, Freightos is rocking the boat as it were, bringing some much needed efficiency to this process that can save a lot of people real money and bringing global commerce into the 21st century.