Company remains committed to providing quality service to help small carriers thrive
One of the early entries in the so-called and really misnamed “Uber for trucking” movement, Convoy found immediate backers with the likes of Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff and Henry Kravis when it launched in 2015. Since then, hundreds of companies have tried to enter the field of digital freight matching, including Uber itself this year. But as competitors have come and gone, Convoy has remained.
Late last month, the company announced $62 million in a Series B round of fundraising that was led by Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund. This round included Mosaic Partners, Barry Diller and Bill Gates among the investors. Clearly, Seattle-based Convoy is maintaining the clubhouse lead and it’s focused on continued growth.
“The fact that others have entered this space is further validation of what we’ve been doing for the past 2.5 years to improve this enormous industry,” a company spokesperson tells FreightWaves. “Our investors certainly help separate Convoy from the rest. But we believe three things set Convoy apart from competitors in this space: our team, our technology and our focus.”
The company says that its original mission – building a solution based on automated pricing and brokering – is one reason it stands out from a crowded field. It has also remained committed to making “logistics smarter, faster and better while helping small trucking companies thrive.”
“We have done both via the technology and app, with most of the investment going into pricing and matching algorithms,” the spokesperson says. “We’re focused on transforming the business model and mindset of the industry...not just making the old ways more efficient.
The new round of investment will be used to expand Convoy’s operational area. Currently, the company is in most of the U.S., but the influx will help it expand to the East Coast by the end of this year. The money will also be used to further R&D efforts.
“Using machine learning and predictive analysis, we’re focused on fine-tuning our matching algorithms to reduce costs for shippers and help truckers get more work,” the spokesperson says. “We have some of the best engineers and data scientists in the country - and with this latest round of capital, we’ll be looking to hire more top-notch engineering talent to join our growing team.”
Convoy’s shipper and carrier network is quite large and growing larger by the day. Currently, there are approximately 10,000 trucking companies in the Convoy network and over 300 shippers, including national brands such as Unilever, Anheuser-Busch, Niagara Bottling and Tenaris. Ensuring that both the carriers and
shippers Convoy works with are trustworthy is handled by a team dedicated to checking data such as CSA BASIC scores, safety rating and insurance coverage.
“Community ratings are also attached to every driver on the network,” explains the spokesperson. “After the job …the driver [is given] a score that reflects their performance. These are monitored by our team as well to maintain the highest standard for our carriers.”
With small fleets and owner-operators making up the majority of Convoy’s carrier network, the company has introduced tools to help them manage costs and reduce overhead.
“Drivers can grow their own trucking companies with access to free tools and services (Convoy Carrier Web, BOL upload, Quickpay) that help reduce overhead, cut down paperwork and get paid quickly,” Convoy’s spokesperson says.
To help them find better quality – and better paying – freight, Convoy uses matching algorithms and predictive analysis models. There is also GPS tracking that can help smaller fleets better manage their vehicles.
That same GPS tracking also helps shippers maintain visibility to their loads. The algorithms ensure shippers find not only available, but also conveniently located, trucks with the right equipment, the company notes. Pricing algorithms eliminate haggling to provide a competitive rate for both shipper and carrier.
Ultimately, the key to Convoy’s future success, it says, will be a continued focus on what’s important.
“Whereas some companies are focused on a variety of initiatives like self-driving trucks and flying cars, Convoy remains 100% focused on its mission of making logistics smarter, faster, and better while helping small trucking companies thrive,” the spokesperson says. “Convoy’s relationships, reputation, and outstanding service are all critical components of our success and will continue to fuel Convoy’s growth in the U.S. and beyond.”