Chicago-based newtrul, a digital freight aggregation platform, recently raised $2.25 million in a seed round.
Autotech Ventures led the financing, which also included participation from Plug and Play Ventures and follows recent announcements of integrations with two major transportation management system (TMS) providers — McLeod and MercuryGate.
The capital will enable expansion of newtrul’s supplier base to support growing demand, along with expanding feature enhancements, application programming interfaces (APIs) and TMS integrations.
newtrul’s search engine and booking tool aims to streamline the process of truckload freight matching by digitizing and aggregating it into a spot marketplace that connects carriers with shippers and brokers.
“Autotech Ventures is an extremely interesting investor for us,” newtrul CEO and co-founder Ed Stockman told FreightWaves. “We chatted with a lot of different venture capital firms and a lot of them brought capital to the table, but Autotech brought deep domain expertise.”
Founded in 2013, Autotech Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. The firm has more than $270 million under management and has a “mission to solve the world’s ground transport challenges with technology,” according to its website.
“Newtrul represents the next generation of logistics marketplaces, embracing a fundamentally different approach of ‘neutrality’ in the way in which it connects carriers with loads from a variety of sources,” Dan Hoffer, managing director of Autotech Ventures, said in a release.
Stockman said Autotech Ventures brought in limited partners that are shippers, brokers and carriers that are “very much relevant to our business.”
Plug and Play is a Sunnyvale, California-based early-stage investor, accelerator and corporate innovation platform with more than 400 corporate partners and 200 venture capitalists in its ecosystem, according to the company.
Plug and Play runs more than 60 accelerator programs every year in 18 major industries in cities around the world.
“Plug and Play has a phenomenal network of enterprise shippers that they have brought to the table,” Stockman said.
Stockman has 13 years in the freight and logistics industry, including working at Redwood Logistics and Transfix. In 2018, Stockman helped found newtrul when he saw that most digital truckload freight matching was “fragmented and inefficient.”
“The evolution that I have seen in the industry over the last five to seven years, there has been a huge emphasis put on digital procurement, because the most expensive part of a brokerage operation is to find the truck,” Stockman said. “Through my experiences in the industry, I’ve learned that carrier relationships are everything and whoever owns the supply owns the market.”
newtrul automates the process of finding carriers and capacity for shippers and brokers. newtrul shares users’ available loads with a hand-selected carrier list for selection. The platform does not charge integration fees, posting fees or a monthly subscription fee. There is a transaction fee when a load is booked. According to the company, brokers and shippers preselect the carriers they wish to make their loads available to, and the remainder of the process is automated.
“We have gone to market as an aggregator, very similar to an Expedia, where one carrier can search across multiple shippers and brokers that they’re already set up with in newtrul,” Stockman said.
More articles by Noi Mahoney