On Thursday night, FreightWaves won the Rise of the Rest Chattanooga pitch competition organized by Steve Case and the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. It was a wonderful honor to be recognized. The support of the civic leaders and the crowd was remarkable. The energy was electric, and we had some great competitors that are doing incredible things right here in Chattanooga.
Over the past few days, I have been asked how we plan on using the $100,000 investment in our business. An investment of that size is not going to move the needle for the city unless it’s directly invested in encouraging job and economic growth in the region.
Chattanooga is a wonderful place to found a startup: low taxes, low cost of operating a business, a lot of excitement around the startup community, support from businesses around the area, and a great place to raise a family. And ‘the gig’ certainly helps, too.
I can’t think of a better location for a logistics data and technology company’s headquarters. Geography, infrastructure, and technology have all made Chattanooga uniquely positioned to be the center of freight innovation and to help to define an industry vital to our national economy.
We have two of the largest truckload carriers in North America based here, one of the largest warehouse operators calls Chattanooga home, and at least 28 freight brokers that each do more than $20 million in revenues located right in our city. There are also a number of businesses that have set up shop here specifically to service the industry. Reliance Insurance, an insurance agency that sells policies to the trucking industry, is one of the nation’s fastest growing property and casualty insurance companies and is also headquartered here. There is a reason Chattanooga is at the very center of "Freight Alley."
When we started our commercial operations last September, we couldn’t have imagined how fast we would grow. In fact, our revenue growth is 17x the projections we gave to our seed investors when we closed our seed round in October.
We believe our unprecedented growth over the past year has been largely a function of being located in Chattanooga and our ability to attract the smartest folks in the freight sector to join our firm.
Like most cities around the country, getting tech talent is challenging, especially getting access to data scientists. The good news is that venture capital investments such as the Rise of the Rest and other investments can actually help to solve this issue.
Therefore, we will use 100% of the money from the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund to provide educational grants to individuals with a data science, economics, or journalism background to continue their education, or alternatively, to relocate individuals that have Master’s or PhDs in economics, data science, or journalism to work at our headquarters in Chattanooga.
The education grants or relocation assistance funding is above and beyond the higher than market compensation and pay packages offered by the company at all levels. Because of the company’s growth and millions in capital raised over the past year, we want the Rise of the Rest Seed capital directly focused on the mission that Steve Case laid out in his goal of promoting economic growth outside of traditional venture communities.
Not only do our products provide actionable outcomes to participants in the $720B US trucking market, our articles generate more than 750,000 page-views a month, securing FreightWaves as the top news source to the freight markets, globally.
We have grown our staff from 8 individuals last August to more than 40. We plan on adding another 40-50 people to our team by the end of the year to match our aggressive revenue growth. We want to continue to build the smartest team in transportation by attracting the right people. Because we’re a venture-backed company, we’ve already been able to offer our team members an array of high quality benefits and a stock option plan. Now we we’re going to use our Rise of the Rest money to keep investing in the people of Chattanooga.
Our goal is to be Tennessee’s first Unicorn. Help us make this a possibility.
If you know of someone with a background in data science, economics, or journalism that would be interested in helping us “map” and report on the freight markets, we would love to speak with them. Please visit our career page.
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