In most ways, Go99 is not just another FreightTech startup, since it originated as a spin-off solution to a well-established industry problem in the heavy civil construction vertical. Prior to Go99, its co-founders were accustomed to looking into their logistics and supply chain management in the construction industry, and thus were hard pressed when they encountered problems with freight hauling.
“On the shipper’s side, you never know who you are actually dealing with - whether it’s a broker or a third-party logistics company - it’s frustrating not to know who is actually driving the truck,” says Go99’s co-founder Devlin Fenton. “The greatest challenge to the sustainability of any business is transparency and visibility into their supply chain. So, we saw an opportunity in developing a business on the shipper’s side. We also spoke with carriers, and they told us that it was a hassle in getting paid. We are all set to change that,” he adds.
Shippers and carriers are an integral part of the freight industry and keeping them in the loop would go a long way in improving efficiency inside the system. The idea of Go99 came to Fenton while he struggled to arrange freight for moving several loads in his crane rental business during an eventless Uber ride from hotel to airport; this ride birthed an idea – surely there should be an “Uber for Freight”?
“As soon as I landed, I spoke to Nigel (co-founder) and we started market research - reviewing about 170 companies who had plays in the space - and finally identified the type of platform we wanted to build that would solve the problem for the freight community,” explains Fenton.
And with the market validation done, Go99 went into product development while closely working with separate technology and industry advisory groups to optimize its development process. Utilizing the support of partners, Go99 went into three months of internal testing after which an invitation-only beta-testing went ahead for a couple of months. The beta was then released to the public in April 2017.
After all the iterations of the product, Go99 believes it has a solution that is significantly different from its competition.
“We don’t represent shippers to carriers or vice versa, which we believe is one of the major problems plaguing the industry. We removed the veil from the transaction and allow shippers and carriers to interact on our platform directly,” says Fenton. “This facilitates transparency, trust and confidence in the transaction that was sorely lacking in the market status quo and the products offered by competitors.”
Fenton believes that the hurdle to achieving traction is about creating awareness in the industry, which needs aggressive marketing and developing a brand consciousness program. Hailing from the Canadian part of the Pacific Northwest and not having concentrated on advertising, Go99’s impressive growth has been purely organic value-driven referrals to this point.
“Another reason that inhibits traction is the resistance to change in the market. Fundamentally, the industry has not changed much over the years,” says Fenton. “There also are a lot of excessive regulations in place. We need to usher in disruption – prepare for driverless trucks, Just-In-Time delivery logistics, and improve coordination to increase efficiency – all the while providing transparency for supply chains; by far the greatest liability facing any business’s sustainability.”
Go99 is looking to tackle an exhaustive set of challenges in the coming months, with it looking to raise capital and focus on scaling across North America. Fenton is optimistic about the prospects, mentioning that the startup has a great pipeline of features and functionality ready for deployment.
“Right now, we have the core solution that the majority of carriers and shippers are searching for,” concludes Fenton. “Go99’s ultimate goal is to provide them with a one-touch, concierge-like service that would give the freight community everything they need.”
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