GoFreight raises $28M to change into the “Shopify of freight forwarding”


Unicorn Flexport is revolutionizing the world of logistics, serving as a freight forwarder with software program that allows prospects to handle their shipments. But there are nonetheless 1000’s of smaller freight forwarders, many working on outdated ERP software program or spreadsheets. A startup referred to as GoFreight needs to assist them compete by offering the “Shopify of freight forwarding,” with backend software program that makes their operations run extra easily, and a frontend that lets them arrange a storefront and supply quotes in a couple of minutes.

The Los Angeles and Taipei-based startup has raised $23 million in Series A funding, co-led by Flex Capital and Headline. The spherical included participation from LFX Venture Partners, Palm Drive Capital and returning buyers Mucker Capital, Cornerstone Ventures and Red Building Capital.

GoFreight, which presently has about 1,000 prospects, helps handle transportation of products by means of ocean, air and land routes. It additionally lets them arrange on-line storefronts with just a few clicks. Potential prospects can hook up with freight forwarders by sending them an inquiry by means of storefront and getting a citation inside a couple of minutes, as a substitute of the 24 to 48 hours normally needed.

Once a freight forwarding job is underway, shipments will be tracked with an EDI-integrated, real-time software, so freight forwarders and prospects know precisely the place their cargo containers are. Tracking software program additionally integrates with accounting instruments on GoFreight’s platform, so customers understand how the efficiency of shipments is impacting their earnings.

Co-founder and CEO Trenton Chen earned his Masters and PhD within the United States earlier than returning to Taiwan to affix TSMC. At that point, AppWorks and different startup applications have been getting plenty of consideration, and Chen determined he wished to change into an entrepreneur. He left TSMC (“it was a tough decision, because no one agreed with that,” he informed Thealike), and gave himself six months to discover a viable concept. During that point, considered one of his co-founders was dwelling in Los Angeles, working as an importer for a household enterprise.

“When I was in the States, I knew a lot of people in this industry as well. So many of our good friends asked us to go there and see how bad the software is. So in the last month of my six month period, I decided to give it an opportunity, bought a ticket for three months to go to LA and spend time with the first 10 freight forwarders, learning how they do business with software. We founded GoFreight after the first week we were there,” Chen mentioned.

Even although Chen says the worldwide freight forwarding market is price about $280 billion {dollars}, virtually all of the software program it runs on is outdated. GoFreight’s aim is to empower conventional freight forwarders to remain aggressive with the identical high quality of know-how that Flexport has.

“A freight forwarding business is about how to ship cargo from point A to point B. Software can really help, but that’s not their main business. The service itself is the main business and software cannot help minimize the shipping costs or get it there faster. But it can certainly help provide additional valuable information to customers, importers and exporters,” Chen mentioned, including, “We try to empower incumbents to compete with Flexport. That’s an approach to make this entire industry better and faster.”

Chen says GoFreight differentiates from different freight forwarding software program startups as a result of most of them are attempting to create new ERP system, or combine with current ones. This is difficult to do as a result of many freight forwarders use ERP programs which can be old-fashioned, and it’s a fragmented market. Some don’t even use ERP programs; as a substitute, they work off of spreadsheets or pen-and-paper programs.

On the backend, GoFreight’s software program has gross sales, working and accounting instruments, so when prospects have an inquiry, freight forwarders can enter it into their system after which come again with a citation. Once a job is confirmed, GoFreight manages bookings, real-time shipments and any needed digital filings. They also can generate and ship invoices by means of GoFreight.

“Very importantly, we’re trying to become the Shopify of the space, so in one-click they can open an online store, and their importers can use the online web portal to send an inquiry and it just pops up in the system, automatically with pricing and they can book their tickets online,” mentioned Chen. “So the front end application is so important and we provide visibility solutions as well.”

A significant problem that GoFreight needs to resolve is the method of producing quotes, which may take a pair days since freight forwarding orders are advanced. For instance, if a buyer needs to ship three containers from Shanghai to Los Angeles, freight forwarders must test with abroad brokers who’re additionally freight forwarders. They additionally want to rearrange trucking and warehouses. Another factor to contemplate is spot charges versus contract charges, since spot charges will be a lot decrease.

Most of this work is finished by means of emails, cellphone calls and textual content messages, however a centralized customer-facing app means freight forwarders can full the complete course of, together with checking with abroad brokers, by means of GoFreight’s integrations, which Chen says reduces the method from two days to about 10 or 20 seconds. GoFreight is presently working with companions to construct a community that connects prospects with freight forwarders, and freight forwarders with carriers.

GoFreight additionally gives a digital cost answer, since most funds have been executed by paper checks. This means freight forwarders can challenge a hyperlink to prospects, and as soon as they click on on that they’re taken to GoFreight’s web site, the place they’ll resolve what invoices to pay with bank cards or financial institution accounts. Then that data goes again into GoFreight’s ERP system.

Analytics offered by GoFreight may also help freight forwarders make more cash, Chen mentioned. For instance, in the event that they e-book a 40-foot container, GoFreight will file how a lot they paid for it and the way a lot prospects have been charged. The system analyzes efficiency for high prospects and abroad brokers, uncovering hidden charges so freight forwarders have a greater understanding of the actual price of a cargo. It additionally breaks down prices per SKU, so freight forwarders and their prospects know precisely how a lot it price to ship an merchandise.

The new funding shall be used to develop extra options like sensible quotations, fee administration and buy order administration.

In an announcement in regards to the funding, Headline companion Tom Gieselmann mentioned, “GoFreight’s all-in-one software provides greater transparency to freight movement, allowing freight forwarders to better manage their business, which can range anywhere from 0-1500+ users, end-to-end. This versatility makes the product incredibly impactful, and a big reason behind why we’ve identified them as one of the most promising logistics tech companies on the market.”


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