Fleet, a start-up aimed at making international logistics cheaper for small businesses, announced that it had raised a $ 10 million A series. The tour was led by Lufthansa Cargo, the air cargo subsidiary of the German airline, with the participation of new and returning investors Hunt Technology, UPS, UP2398 and 1517 Fund.
The latest funding announcement from the Portland-based company dates from April 2016, for a $ 4-million round led by Hunt Technology Ventures. His Series A brings Fleet's total to $ 14 million. Max Lock, founder and CEO, tells TechCrunch that the capital will be used to launch Fleet GDS, which he says will be the first global distribution system that links fares, automates bookings and documentation for shippers and service providers. logistics services. platform. The company also plans to launch an air cargo platform next month, with Lufthansa Cargo as one of its partners and service providers.
Alexis von Hoensbroech, Commercial Director of Lufthansa Cargo, also joined the Fleet Board of Directors. In a press release, Lufthansa Cargo's CEO, Peter Gerber, said: "Fleet Logistics is an ideal partner because the company combines innovative thinking and visionary with a strong intrinsic motivation to improve booking and efficiency. airfreight and finally the overall experience of our customers .We are expecting substantial lessons in our portfolio of products and services, so we are confident that Lufthansa Cargo and Fleet will mutually benefit from the sharing of concepts and services. # 39; ideas. "
Then called Shipstr, Fleet was launched at Disrupt San Francisco in 2014, where he made the final round of Startup Battlefield. Lock first encountered the nightmares of the logistics with which many small import-export businesses managed by running Schoolboy Ice Cream, which sold frozen desserts to Whole Foods and others. distributors. When other food companies asked him to import paper cups from Chinese manufacturers, Mr. Lock discovered that the cost of booking freight forwarders, which in turn must reserve third-party services such as warehouses, customs brokers and trucking companies, is growing rapidly. there is very little transparency in the process.
The fleet was created to link small businesses to international freight brokers, but it changed its name and business model and launched a market in July 2015 allowing companies to compare freight forwarders (agents who organize warehousing and shipping). freight forwarding), manage shipments and leave comments. There are now more than 500 freight forwarders on the Fleet platform. The company says it can help companies that make between five and 100 shipments a year save up to $ 30,000 and 800 hours annually by reducing the time required to get quotes from suppliers services, create and manage accounts and track shipments. world.
The start-up Fleet GDS builds because the logistics industry "lacks technical infrastructure," says Lock. He explains that many companies in the supply chain own their own proprietary software and use EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) to send information, a time consuming and tedious process that Fleet GDS is supposed to solve. Since airlines, warehouses and trucking companies are unlikely to stop using their existing systems, this means that the logistics industry must solve its own communication problem. Fleet GDS wants to achieve this by linking major services like fares, capacity, bookings and documentation at every stage of the logistics supply chain, including warehouses, trucks, airlines, shipping companies and customs brokers.
Lock says Fleet GDS will allow Fleet to continue to differentiate itself from other startups by using technology to solve logistical challenges (such as Freightos, Flexport and Haven) as it allows importers, exporters and freight forwarders to communicate directly with service providers. currently in charge of their cargo. In addition to making the process more efficient, Lock believes that it will also increase trust and transparency in the traditionally opaque supply chain.
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