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German digital freight forwarder Sennder raises $160M

Berlin startup acquired Uber Freight’s European business in September

Sennder founders (Photo credit: Sennder)

German freight technology startup Sennder has raised $160 million in Series D financing, surpassing a $1 billion valuation as it seeks to expand services and acquisitions across the European freight markets.

The company did not divulge the name of the lead investor, but round participants included Accel, Lakestar, HV Capital, Project A and Scania.

Founded in 2015, Sennder has grown its headcount to 800 employees who work across seven European offices. 

On a growth tear last year, the Berlin-based startup acquired Uber Freight’s European book of business in September, as well as Everoad, its French competitor.   

That acquisition spree will continue this year, co-founder Julius Köhler told FreightWaves. “Step by step, we will acquire more asset-light freight forwarders that we will then integrate into the system landscape.”

The company is not without competitors in Europe’s booming freight-tech market. In November, another digital freight forwarder, German-based Forto, raised $50 million in funding, for a total of $103 million.

Sennder’s digital platform directly connects shippers with trucking companies, integrating via API and  automating freight processes from booking to freight tracking.

The company will use the latest investment to double its 200-person technology team this year,  Köhler said, and to accelerate research and development.

The funds also will help fuel expansion into seven new European markets, adding to existing customers such as Poste Italiane in Italy, as well as Scania and Siemens.

Sennder is now partnered with 10 organizations listed in the German DAX 30 and 11 companies making up the Euro Stoxx 50.

Drawing a contrast between the European and American trucking industry, Köhler said that the former has been much slower to adopt new technologies. For example, carriers tend to be “scared” to give out GPS signals, he observed, a standard practice in the U.S.

Plus, unlike the owner-operator model in the U.S, which allows truck owners to make decisions about what loads to accept, the European dispatch-based model “makes it harder to integrate that individual vehicle into the technology infrastructure,” Köhler explained.

That said, Sennder is well positioned to connect small and midsize trucking companies with established shippers, the company and its investors said.

“By revolutionizing the freight industry at an unprecedented pace, [Sennder] has quickly become one of Europe’s most exciting companies,” Sonali De Rycker, partner at Accel, said in a statement.  

Last year “highlighted the value that Sennder’s digital offering brings to the freight industry,” De Rycker added, and “2021 is well positioned to be another exciting year for the business.”

To date, Sennder has raised more than $260 million.

Related story:

French visibility platform secures $32M

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to [email protected]