Shippers need intermediaries to locate capacity — a fact underscored in the last year — but traditional brokers often lack accurate visibility into a very fragmented market. Over the last five years, digital broker upstarts have worked to increase the visibility and accessibility of available capacity.
Even as digital freight brokerages account for a larger share of the broader domestic logistics market, not all digital freight brokerages share the same growth strategies.
Some major digital broker upstarts are willing to operate at a loss in order to buy the market — a strategy that prioritizes growth rather than efficiency, without fully utilizing automation as a means of scale. Other early digital brokers, like Loadsmart, take a more calculated and measured approach, partnering with both sides of the business in order to ensure sustainable unit economics as they scale.
In November, Chicago-based Loadsmart closed its third round of venture capital funding, raising $90 million. This series was led by BlackRock Inc.’s Innovation capital arm, with investments from maritime shipping container giant Maersk. Since its launch in 2014, Loadsmart has raised $146.4 million, and its annualized revenue sits higher than $140 million. The company expects to turn a profit by 2023.
Taking into consideration the spiking tender rejections of the past year, Loadsmart has seen a significant adoption acceleration of Loadsmart Link, its dynamic real-time pricing and guaranteed capacity platform — the first of its kind, launching in 2015, that supports API and EDI integrations with shippers, carriers and partners.
“In the aftermath of COVID-19, shippers saw high tender rejections,” said Felipe Capella, co-founder and president of Loadsmart. “They had load tenders accepted and then returned back. That’s the last thing a shipper needs in a highly volatile market.”
With Loadsmart Link, tender acceptance is 100% guaranteed; loads are never returned. One real-time rate represents Loadsmart’s network of more than half a million trucks.
“With one rate, shippers can access tens of thousands of carriers,” added Capella. “Shippers get a live market rate inside their TMS that’s instantly bookable and benchmarks their contracted rates, helping them to save on costs when the market is favorable and access 100% guaranteed capacity. It’s a no-brainer for shippers to integrate dynamic pricing into their TMS. It’s free to integrate and for many shippers takes less than an hour.”
On Wednesday, the company reported Q4 earnings and 208% of year-over-year growth, 85% of which came from annual recurring revenue from product innovation, partnerships and direct integrations with large shippers. After launching new digital transportation modes by the end of 2020, in LTL, rail and partial, shippers are quickly adopting those as well.
In the wake of a volatile year in which capacity was king, that growth reveals that shippers are more eager for digitization and bringing more freight sourcing back in-house, which enhances visibility into costs, truck locations, delivery times and sustainability initiatives. Loadsmart Link can integrate with leading ELD platforms and provide load status and tracking notifications inside the TMS.
Those shippers who had the integration during 2020 came out ahead, since they could grab capacity with one click — an insurance policy for good times and bad. As prices drop, shippers can see the changes within their routing guide and can either use them for benchmarking or book the rates instantly — all without exercising another RFP.
Loadsmart is wiring up the supply to meet the demand with technology — the only strategy for shippers to gain real access to actual market condition pricing.
To learn more about the benefits of enabling dynamic pricing in your TMS, visit www.loadsmart.com/link.