Freight markets are under attack from digitization, volatility, regulations, and cyclical and secular trends. Market participants need near-time analytics and commentary about the overall market. FreightWaves is a data and content forum that provides market participants with near-time analytics on the state of the freight market and tools that provide actionable outcomes.
Unlike tech-enabled companies that come into the freight markets with the goal of disintermediation, FreightWaves is focused on empowering incumbents and emerging firms with information that give them an edge.
We have partnered with some of the largest and most important data providers in the freight marketplace, aggregating hundreds of sources and representing billions of individual data points. We use this information to understand and model near-time changes and impacts to the freight market, giving us an understanding of how things like weather, economic activity, technology, and regulations change the freight markets. Many of the insights we gain are published and available for free through our commentary and news site, FreightWaves.com.
We also prepare market indices, geo heat-maps, and barometers that "map the freight market," helping participants to understand how the market will impact them. These "market maps", indices, commentary, and analytics will soon be available for freight market participants and financial speculators on our SONAR platform. We also have developed the leading technical and markets forums for the freight industry, market and technical education, thought leadership, standards, and certifications for the freight market, all through our BiTA platform. Last, we are working to provide hedging and risk management tools in the form of listed futures contracts that can help participants mitigate their exposure to the volatility of U.S. trucking spot prices.
FreightWaves is the leading go to source for information about the freight markets and is cited in publications as original material, including the largest news sites in the world: Bloomberg, Washington Post, WSJ, Reuters, NY Times, CNBC, TechCrunch, Wired, Forbes, and Fortune,
Our content also shows up as reference material in mainstream and commodity specific news services on thousands of topics. According to Meltwater, FreightWaves' material is seen by an audience greater than 400 million times a month.
FreightWaves is near the top of the Crunchbase's rankings of startups, globally. We are also ranked in the 95% percentile for growth by Pitchbook. The Breakout List also recognizes our momentum, placing on us on their list of highly-regarded companies that are breaking out from the competition.
We’ve won Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Competition, were named FIA Innovator of the Year, called a CNBC Upstart 100, and receive countless other accolades each month.
Our news site, FreightWaves.com is the number one logistics news site in the world according to Alexa, by a couple of metrics (stats updated as of July 17, 2018):
#1 in page-views: 1.5M page-views per month
#1 in unique visitors: 200k unique visitors per month
#1 in estimated total visits: 575k total visits per month
#1 in social media engagements: 11x the nearest logistics site in terms of engagement per month
#1 in total monthly impressions (as measured by Meltwater): 445 million
The Freight Markets
The U.S. trucking freight market is massive and we plan to bring visibility and transparency to it through our product suite. The U.S. trucking freight market is 30% bigger than U.S. oil, coal, and natural gas production combined.
Like most large commodity markets, speculators and hedgers need news and near-time analytics on the state of the market. Freight has historically lacked news and market-level data that give participants near-time information that they can trade or model decisions on.
Our Journey (So Far)
"Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about the destination." – Drake
FreightWaves was launched by industry entrepreneur Craig Fuller.
Craig literally grew up around the industry and was exposed to trucking, airfreight, digitization, and technology from an early age. His father started what is now the largest privately held trucking company in the US, US Xpress. When his dad started the company with just 50 trucks, Craig was a small boy and got to see how applying technologies such as telematics and digitization could enable an upstart to grow to be one of the largest players in the industry. He had the opportunity to participate in the company's early technology, serving as its first help-desk technician in his pre-teens. That experience taught him how technology would be used by the company and gave him a front row seat to witness its evolution.
But rather than just managing technology, Craig wanted to experience freight firsthand. He started to spend his summers away from Baylor University in fleet operations, doing everything from driver manager to load planner. Always up for a challenge, he found great pleasure in coordinating and designing repowers. On night dispatch, he became the "go-to" resource for solving multi-truck repowers, even pulling off a 25 truck repower right before July 4th.
After college, Craig ended up joining US Xpress' airfreight startup on the sales side. He quickly grew the DFW and Austin freight markets to the third largest freight markets in the company (from #12). While the product was airfreight, Craig became known around the DFW airport as the "go to" resource for expedited on-demand truckload. Seeing an opportunity to create a new market, he founded the on-demand division of US Xpress, known as Xpress Direct (XD), in 2002.
XD quickly became the industry's largest provider of on-demand trucking in the US. In less than two years, the subsidiary grew to more than $144M in annual revenue with a margin of 47%. The operation took over FEMA relief operations, managed a significant portion of UPS' surge, became the industry backstop for capacity, and won the Quest for Quality Award for excellence in logistics.
Craig left the XD division to take over the Xpress Global Subsidiary and to orchestrate the sell of the airfreight operations to Forward Air Corporation. In less than five months, XGS went from losing $2 million dollars per month to a profit of around $1 million. US Xpress' stock also rallied during the same period, surging by over 60%. Having orchestrated two of the greatest events in the company's history--XD and the turn-around at XGS--Craig turned over the reins of XGS to operations expert John Bowes, who presided over XGS' most profitable days, culminating in the sell of the business to private equity.
Upon leaving XGS, Craig ventured into entrepreneurship and launched a number of businesses, including the first “Uber of trucking”: TransMarkets and a payments company, TransCard.The company offered a prepaid debit-card and fleet card product. In 2012, the fleet card company was sold to US Bank for 30x revenues. After two years of working with US Bank, Craig left TransCard and ended up doing consulting with many FreightTech startups. He also spent many hours day-trading public equities and commodities. This was during the time when global commodities were crashing and the Baltic Exchange was serving as the benchmark indicator of the global economy. He noticed some similarities between the maritime freight markets and the road freight markets.
Intrigued, Craig reached out to the COO of the Baltic Exchange and asked him for an hour to explain how freight futures worked. What started out as a phone call culminated in an invitation to London to spend a few weeks studying how freight futures worked on the sea. Craig studied with about forty maritime freight futures agreements (FFAs) traders and learned how the maritime futures market was constructed. He ended up taking these lessons back with him when he returned to the U.S.
Encouraged by what he learned, Craig started having conversations with key industry and commodity markets players. Many of them listened and provided feedback, others agreed to join the company or join as advisors to the young startup, and a few even agreed to invest.
Through a friend and now company executive, Ben Murphy, Craig established contact with DAT and expressed his interest in starting a futures market based on US trucking spot rates, in partnership with the benchmark price reporting agency for US trucking. DAT agreed to participate, and thus began the long task of developing a cold-start futures market would require resources and expertise well beyond the freight markets.
After a number of conversations with various global exchanges, Nodal agreed to partner with the upstart. Nodal, a significant player in the power markets, was attracted to the similarities between the capacity constrained freight markets and the power markets. After doing due diligence on the freight markets, Nodal agreed to partner with DAT and Craig’s new venture.
To build a futures market, the company would need to build significant amounts of liquidity: lots of participants were needed. Therefore, potential participants in the market had to be sufficiently educated and informed on events and trends that might impact the freight markets. Plus, educating the companies that would trade the futures on how they worked would also require a significant amount of PR resources. The company found that PR firms traditionally serving the trucking industry were uncomfortable with futures markets and how they worked.
The decision was made to insource this activity and the Managing Editor for one of the largest trade publications in the industry applied for the job. Brian Straight, who had been at Fleet Owner for almost a decade, was a perfect fit for the role. He had grown up as a true journalist, but was also a FreightTech enthusiast. FreightWaves was born and the stories gained traction through social media and through Google news search. Over the next few months, Brian kept writing about the freight markets and how technology, regulations, and economic activity were impacting them. The staff started to grow--and so did the traffic.
In the meantime, Craig used his deep rolodex to recruit a panel of experts and resources that could be tapped for information about the latest developments in the market. The team that was assembled included some of the biggest and most recognized names in the industry, as well as some resources that were less known, but possessed deep levels of experience and tribal knowledge of the freight markets. The company also sought out partnerships with over 150 companies that could provide anonymized market data that could be turned into indices and provide near-time analytics and insights on the state of the freight markets.
In less than a year, FreightWaves grew to the second most trafficked news site in all of freight, globally. A symbiotic relationship had developed between the company’s logistics and commodities professionals and the editorial team. The writers benefited from the vast resources, data, forum, and network Craig and his team has assembled, and in turn, they were educating the freight world about the cutting edge of finance and technology.
A few months before this milestone, the organization helped to launch the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA). The goal of BiTA is to provide a forum for technology standards and commercialization in the freight and transportation industry. BiTA is now the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, bringing together companies that generate over $1 trillion dollars in revenue.
The company is building a SaaS market dashboard inspired by the Bloomberg terminal to give market participants near-time insights into the freight markets, using charts, heat and geo maps, and commentary by the FreightWaves expert panel. The firm is also looking to launch the trucking freight futures contracts in the second half of 2018.
The team enjoys executive and advisory experience from storied transportation tech and freight organizations such as Transplace, J.B. Hunt, McLeod Software, TMW, Covenant Transport, the ATA, Transport Topics, TIA, TCA, US Xpress, FedEx, and XPO.
To round out the transport team, FreightWaves also pulls from current and former Wall Street and consulting enterprises, such as Stifel, BB&T, Broughton Capital, Frost and Sullivan, and Forester Research.
In addition to having deep freight markets experience, FreightWaves has also attracted key executives from capital markets publishing and price reporting services. The company's editorial staff is headed by the former of head of news at Platts; the former head of Market Insights at S&P; the former head of commodities at Reuters; the head of trading for dry-bulk commodities at Morgan Stanley; the former President of S&P, JD Power, and McGraw-Hill; the former head of M&A at Morningstar; the former head of M&A at IHS; and a former President of Thomson Reuters.
News & Announcements
Careers at FreightWaves
Looking for a job where you can kick back and admire the efforts of your peers? Look elsewhere. If you're smart, driven, resourceful, and not afraid to fail, we may make a great match. What's more, we offer killer benefits like unlimited vacation days, Beer Friday, and success sharing incentives.
To read more about FreightWaves, including news from other sources, visit Crunchbase.