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Loadsmart becomes FreightTech’s next unicorn at $1.3B valuation with SoftBank investment

Company closes a $200 million series D

Loadsmart closes a $200 million series D round. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

On-demand freight marketplace Loadsmart announced Tuesday it has closed a $200 million series D round led by SoftBank Group’s Latin America Fund with participation from rail transportation company CSX Corp., asset manager Janus Henderson Group and its existing investor, BlackRock Inc.

The Chicago-based company’s series D round has landed the freight marketplace a $1.3 billion valuation, almost three times its valuation after closing its series C in November, showcasing the desirability of FreightTech innovation in supply chain. According to Pitchbook, Loadsmart has raised a total of $335.6 million since 2014.

“As a pioneer in digital freight technology, Loadsmart has built a best-in-class, scalable platform that offers multimodal digital services to customers across the supply chain. We are thrilled to lead this round of investment and work with [Loadsmart co-founder and CEO Felipe Capella, co-founder and co-CEO Ricardo Salgado] and their talented team as they continue to digitize the supply chain to move the logistics industry into the future,” said Carlos Medeiros, partner at SoftBank Latin America Fund.

In August, the company announced a partnership with The Home Depot to help the retailer leverage its flatbed capacity through Loadsmart’s supply-led platform Flatbed Messenger. Using the solution, The Home Depot is able to find its carrier network backhaul, driving down the retailer’s direct transportation costs.

The company also acquired the warehouse dock scheduling software Opendock and trucking management system Kamion, giving its shippers an advanced tool for arranging pickups and deliveries while giving carriers access to a management system that is fully integrated into Loadsmart’s marketplace. 

In an interview with FreightWaves, Salgado explained that these tools have supported the company’s carrier network growth to more than 680,000 trucks, enabling the company to see more than $2 billion of freight via its shipper API on a quarterly basis.

“That has set up the foundation for us to operate based on technology and strategic partnerships to be able to grow faster, and at a better margin, than our digital competitors,” Salgado said.

While the company has armed itself with a number of value-adding tools for customers, Loadsmart’s ability to optimize available cargo space on various modes of transportation has enabled the company to focus on its first mission, to create a more sustainable supply chain not just economically but environmentally.

Funding details:Loadsmart
Funding amount$200 million
Funding roundSeries D
Lead investorSoftBank Group’s Latin America Fund
Secondary investorsCSX Corp, Janus Henderson Group, BlackRock Inc.
Business goals for the roundExpand technology solutions, add team members including executive staff
Post-money valuation$1.3 billion
Total funding$335.6 million (since 2014)

This mission helps explain why so many supply chain parties have participated in Loadsmart’s past investments. These include Maersk, TFI International and The Home Depot, which all took part in its series C. The U.S. terminal operator Ports America also participated in Loadsmart’s series B.

“As an environmental leader in an industry that plays an important strategic role in the low-carbon economy, CSX is excited for the opportunity to invest in a company like Loadsmart that is creating a more sustainable supply chain by eliminating empty miles and offering multimodal solutions to shippers that generate substantial value for customers,” said Kevin Boone, executive vice president of sales and marketing at CSX.

With its new infusion of capital, Loadsmart plans to continue its strategy of building shipper-centric tools based on individuals needs, propelling itself from a modern freight marketplace to a FreightTech solutions company.

“We understand that shippers are very different from one another. They have their own inefficiencies and their own pain points,” said Capella in an interview with FreightWaves.

“We sit individually with each shipper customer and build custom-made solutions, leveraging our large tech team. … We are not making enterprise tools, we are taking a consultative approach towards providing technology,” he continued.

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Grace Sharkey

Grace is an entrepreneur and former supply chain executive who has held positions in sales, operations, and consulting. She is passionate about the future of the industry and how technology can improve the experience for all supply chain members. She believes supply chain is the one industry that affects every human directly, and is looking forward to creating content that mirrors that sentiment. If you have a story to share, please contact me at [email protected]