FourKites’ rapid growth in 2020 and demand for its real-time supply chain visibility products has enabled it to land a new round of funding. The company on Wednesday announced a $100 million Series D round with financing led by Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P., with participation from Qualcomm Ventures LLC, Volvo Group Venture Capital AB and Zebra Technologies, as well as existing investors August Capital, CEAS Investments, Hyde Park Angels, Hyde Park Venture Partners and Bain Capital Ventures.
Its most recent investment round was a $50 million Series C in 2019, led by CEAS Investments, according to Crunchbase. It secured a $35 million Series B in 2018, led by August Capital. Including Wednesday’s round, FourKites has raised $201.5 million across six rounds.
Founded in 2014 by Matt Elenjickal, the company employs over 500 people in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
“This latest funding round, following a year of record growth for FourKites, validates our vision of breaking down the barriers across today’s supply chains — between transportation, warehouses, stores and siloed technology systems,” said Elenjickal in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with our investors to enable true end-to-end visibility and unlocking tremendous value for the entire ecosystem.”
FourKites’ customer base includes nine of the top 10 global consumer packaged goods companies and 18 of the top 20 food and beverage companies. Its visibility platform is used in 176 countries by over 450,000 carriers across road, rail, ocean and air. The company said it tracks over 1 million shipments daily.
“As the market leader, FourKites is operating at significant scale, and has the world’s biggest brands as loyal and growing customers,” said THL Managing Director Mike Kaczmarek, who will join FourKites’ board of directors. “FourKites will continue to benefit from secular mega-trends, such as automation penetration and increased supply chain complexity. We are thrilled to lead this funding round as part of our vision to invest in companies that will steer the future of supply chain automation.”
The COVID-19 pandemic did not slow FourKites’ growth or innovation in 2020, in fact, it accelerated it. The real-time supply chain visibility company saw 140% growth in ocean customers and 138% growth in rail and intermodal customers over 2019. The company in December told FreightWaves it had experienced a 200% increase in international load volumes tracked via its platform and a 149% increase in rail shipments tracked. Onboarded carriers grew 67%, it said.
It continued to see growth in its existing lines of business as well, and still managed to roll out innovation after innovation in 2020. It landed at the No. 6 spot on FreightWaves’ 2021 FreightTech 25 awards list. In 2020, FourKites introduced Dynamic Yard, multimodal purchase order tracking, Dynamic ETA for LTL, sustainability dashboards and a network congestion map.
A host of collaboration and paperless document-processing capabilities was also announced, as well as a direct store delivery and mobile app. In all, the company said it introduced 126 product enhancements and features in 2020.
In an interview with FreightWaves ahead of the funding announcement, Elenjickal said FourKites would use the $100 million to expand in four areas:
- Building out the customer success team and processes.
- Moving beyond transportation visibility to include visibility in all areas of the supply chain (yard, warehouse, etc.)
- Infrastructure investments to support customers at scale.
Elenjickal couldn’t get into specific acquisition targets, but he said FourKites would look to add businesses that both complement and speed go-to-market solutions.
“We know we can’t build everything on our own,” he said.
In March 2020, FourKites acquired the yard management solutions business from TrackX Holdings. That technology led to the introduction of Dynamic Yard later in the year and is an example of strategic, complementary acquisitions FourKites may be targeting.
“The biggest thing for me is this is more than a company raising $100 million … this is about a company defining a market and what is next, and really bringing a group of investors and strategics together,” Elenjickal said.
The founder said a fundraising round was in discussion for Q2 2021, but opportunity moved that timeline forward. It was not about needing cash, Elenjickal said, but rather taking advantage of the intense interest in supply chain visibility.
“The use case and definition of visibility is expanding beyond transportation and we are at the forefront of that,” Elenjickal said, noting that Thomas Lee Partners has been investing in companies working on automation technologies, and Qualcomm, Volvo and Zebra are all companies with intense focus on the supply chain in their own business lines.
Elenjickal declined to disclose FourKites’ new valuation with the latest round, but said it was a “significant” increase from the last valuation that occurred in 2019. At the time of the 2019 funding announcement, which also did not disclose a valuation, FourKites’ visibility platform was in 55 countries and it had approximately 300 employees.