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4 reasons The Future of Supply Chain is a must-attend event for VCs

AskWaves looks at what the gathering in Northwest Arkansas, home to 2 Fortune 500 companies that will be attending, has in store

(FreightWaves event in Chicago. Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

In less than two months, logistics professionals from across the globe will be traveling to Northwest Arkansas to provide insights on emerging FreightTech and to predict trends and deviations in the supply chain industry.

May 9-10, FreightWaves will host supply chain experts at the Rogers Convention Center for a two-day exhibition including world-renowned speakers, rapid-fire demos of the latest industry technologies, captivating discussions, and opportunities to network with decision makers for Fortune 500 shippers and nationwide carriers.

Below are four more reasons why The Future of Supply Chain event will be the place for venture firms to be this spring.

Supply chain investments are breaking records

While supply chains themselves are seizing up, supply chain investments are experiencing the exact opposite.

Last year, FreightTech raised $64.4 billion in venture capital across 1,513 deals, up 64% from 2020’s $39 billion, as the industry looked for the answers to last-mile delivery, capacity optimization and global freight tracking with companies like Gopuff, Flock Freight and project44.

Even in the year’s Q4, venture capital investment in supply chain technology continued to set records: It raised $10.9 billion through 256 deals, up year-over-year by 7.9%, raised funds for digital trucking companies like CloudTrucks and enabled companies like UberFreight to raise $550 million toward purchasing Transplace.

Valuations for both early and late-stage FreightTech startups increased all four quarters of 2021, with pre-money valuations for angel industry startups rising 44% from 2020 to $9 million, early stage valuations up 28.5% to $30 million and late-stage valuations up 95.3% up to an average $120 million.

Now venture capital firms have the opportunity to see emerging technologies all in one place, and not just companies that represent the emerging FreightTech space but those in other emerging markets including fintech companies like Melio and insurtech offered by companies like Loadsure.

Innovation will be on display

Technology-enabled supply chain providers will not only be attending the event, but over 30 solutions will be demoed in front of a live audience throughout the two-day showcase.  

During Day 1, investors will be able to watch a number of solutions, including carrier management platform Parade, which recently closed on its series A that saw participation from a number of freight experts like project44’s Jason Duboe and Jett McCandless, Redwood’s Eric Rempel, and Jones Capital’s Tom Caughlin.

Day 1 will also showcase telematics technology provider Platform Science, payment solutions provider TriumphPay, freight procurement resource Emerge, autonomous trucking solutions provider Locomation and a dozen others.

Day 2 will demonstrate a middle-mile autonomous vehicle provided by Gatik, which announced in November that it was running routes for Walmart with no safety drivers behind the steering wheel.

“This is not a one-off thing. … This is us doing commercial deliveries for Walmart,” CEO and co-founder Gautam Narang told FreightWaves.

Investors will also be able to see back-office automation from providers like RPA Labs, procurement and pricing improvement technology from Cargo Chief, and 13 other emerging FreightTech providers during Day 2 of the Rogers, Arkansas, event.

Hear shipper and carrier needs firsthand

While it is important for investors to be able to see future investments in action, The Future of Supply Chain attendee list will allow firms to meet the customers of these products face to face to get feedback on their technology partnerships.

Northwest Arkansas is the world headquarters to two Fortune 500 attendees — J.B. Hunt, Tyson Foods— and is home to over 1,500 suppliers of multinational retailer Walmart.

Not only will these large shippers and carriers be attending the event, a number of them will be speaking, giving investors the opportunity to hear the supply chain concerns directly from the the executives who run their operations.

Keynotes and fireside chats on Day 1 will include representatives from transportation providers like J.B. Hunt, Ryder and ArcBest. Shippers will be represented as well, with Ildefonso Silva, executive vice president of Tyson Foods, discussing technology that has made supply chains more agile.

On Day 2, Greg Kessman, senior director of supply chain at Nestle, will lead the first fireside chat of the day, and CHEP’s director of supply chain, George Brehovsky, will discuss how the company forecast demand throughout the pandemic.

Deals get done

Even with over 125 companies, including dozens of asset-based providers, FreightTech innovators, venture firms, enterprise shippers and freight experts, in the building, industry investors understand that FreightWaves is the nerve center of the global supply chain. With that responsibility comes the ability to build an environment for the industry’s deals to take place.

“Before FreightWaves there wasn’t a good source of news in our industry. FreightWaves is now the clear leader of unbiased information in FreightTech, and I don’t know any industry investors that don’t get their news from FreightWaves,” said Andrew Leto, founder and CEO of Emerge.

Leto added that at a FreightWaves event three years ago, he met one of the company’s investors, NewRoad Capital, after demonstrating Emerge’s technology on the FreightWaves stage.

NewRoad Capital went on to lead the company’s series A round in 2020 for $20 million. 

“If you are a startup or anyone looking to get your name out there, there is no better way than to start with these events,” said Leto.

To join investors like NewRoad Capital, Fontinalis Ventures, Prologis Ventures, Ironspring Ventures, Cambridge Capital, Construct Capital, Perot Jain and other venture firms at The Future of Supply Chain in May, register here.

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Grace Sharkey

Grace Sharkey is a professional in the logistics and transportation industry with experience in journalism, digital content creation and decision-making roles in the third-party logistics space. Prior to joining FreightWaves, Grace led a startup brokerage to more than $80 million in revenue, holding roles of increasing responsibility, including director of sales, vice president of business development and chief strategy officer. She is currently a staff writer, podcast producer and SiriusXM radio host for FreightWaves, a leading provider of news, data and analytics for the logistics industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Michigan State University. You can contact her at [email protected].