Though technology percolation in the freight industry is higher than ever, there exists a chasmic divide in how technology and data are being handled by larger shipping companies in the business, versus the smaller fleets. Online freight platform Shipwell assists small and medium-sized businesses to leverage data, and help reduce informational asymmetry by providing them with tools that would make shipping Amazon-sque.
Today, Shipwell announced its $10 million Series A round financing led by Fifth Wall, a VC firm that brings in investors who are some of the largest owner-operators in the country, and in the words of Greg Price, co-founder of Shipwell, are “at the intersection of the real world and the technology world.”
This round of funding also included Global Founders Capital and Aspect Ventures, along with its existing investors First Round Capital, Base10, and Village Global, bringing the total funding to date to $12.1 million.
“Today in the U.S., around 80% of the physical goods are at the back of a truck at some point. But the process for quoting, booking, and tracking that truck is manual,” said Jason Traff, co-founder of Shipwell. “We believe that today’s consumers are demanding better shipping options. They can go to Amazon or Walmart, book something, get it for free in less than two days, maybe even in two hours and that’s their experience with it. But for businesses and for others who deal with freight, it is extremely difficult.”
Shipwell understands the impact of ecommerce on freight shipping, and since its inception had almost exclusively been working on improving its product to empower businesses by providing them the necessary visibility into their operations.
“On the shipper side, they want someone who can provide connections to carriers and their end customers. On the carrier side, the smaller players can’t compete with the bigger fleets and are stuck playing in the spot market,” said Traff. “We want to provide capabilities for smaller fleets to compete with the largest players in the space and help them operate in a more efficient way.”
Currently, Shipwell has over a thousand companies on-board, using their solution for finding capacity and in gaining freight visibility. “We are easy to use and are customer facing. Everyone knows what they want their customer’s experience to be when they use their brand, but with freight shipping, you never had a way to find out. Now our users have a way where they can log on, see tracking updates, and receive real-time notifications on the status of their shipments. And for most of our users that is already huge,” said Price.
Shipwell has worked on automating redundant tasks like workflows and communications around freight shipment, which significantly increases operational efficiency. “We have built a layer of intelligence over the platform for automation, and thus you can do 10x more with the same number of people you have than with your old technology system,” said Traff.
With a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 88, Shipwell might actually find it hard to perennially sustain the level of interest being generated for its product in the industry. However, to keep up the trend, the company is looking to hire people in both its engineering and sales divisions and is investing heavily in improving its machine learning capabilities for a more seamless logistics experience.