e2log, a digital platform for door-to-door oversize freight based in Houston, announced that it has raised a seed round of financing from San Francisco-based 8VC, a venture capital firm with a transportation technology portfolio that includes boom, Joby Aviation, vector, Platform Science, project44, FreightWaves, and Deliverr.
e2log allows companies to communicate with each other using simple messaging systems, generate requests for proposals, and connect shippers and equipment owners to all of the subcontractors involved in highly complex movements of cargo.
FreightWaves spoke to Adolph Colaco, e2log’s founder and chief executive officer, Allen Melton, chief operating officer, and Rishi Khare, chief technology officer, by phone.
Colaco has spent more than 25 years in logistics, the first eleven of which were quite hands-on on the customs side: Colaco worked in air ports and sea ports, physically inspecting air cargo, jumping onto ships with bulk cargo, and opening up containers.
Eventually, Colaco found himself at Transocean, the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor, where he worked for more than eleven years in a variety of roles, including director of global logistics, customs compliance and contracts.
From Transocean, Colaco went to Weatherford, where he also oversaw global supply chain divisions for offshore oil rigs and ran procurement and sourcing.
Melton’s primary experience was at CEVA Logistics, where he worked for a total of about 19 years, in roles like senior vice president for business development in the global technology sector, vice president of energy sales, and senior director of operations. Finally, Khare has served as a lead programmer for a number of technology startups in India.
Two years ago, Colaco was based in the Middle East, but he felt an itch to get out and do something on his own.
“The way I looked at it was straightforward,” Colaco said. “What was the biggest problem I struggled with in my career, a problem across decades and geography? If I can find a solution, there is an opportunity. e2log was born out of that.”
The essential problem is that while oversized cargo—objects too large for containers like electrical transformers, oil rig machinery, and wind turbines—is high-value, high-cost to move and takes long transit times, oversized cargo logistics has the least technological penetration of any of the main categories of freight. Much more system integration and visibility technology already exists for parcel and containerized freight, but the highest technology used to coordinate movements of oversized cargo is the Microsoft Office suite.
Colaco said that his global experience—knowing the difference between how freight moves in Nigeria and how it moves in Indonesia—gave him an appreciate for the complexity and diversity of logistics.
Colaco said that a market research team reported that oversized cargo is approximately a $200 billion market growing four percent annually. The primary verticals are oil and gas, chemicals, construction, mining, and wind energy. In 2019, e2log will focus on oil and gas, for example optimizing the planning and procurement processes for multi-billion dollar pipeline projects, before turning to mining, chemicals, and wind energy.
Currently, it takes thousands of man-hours to plan capital expenditure budgets to move equipment from, for example, Houston to the Congo, Colaco said. e2log believes that its robust request-for-quote process will generate 10-20 percent cost savings and 15-20 percent improvements in process efficiency.
There’s still no way to predict when oversized cargo will show up—tens of thousands of dollars can be wasted as teams of engineers wait on site for the arrival of equipment that could be a week away.
Part of e2log’s go-to-market strategy is getting customers comfortable with simple technology to manage transactions. As the ecosystem ingests more data, it will be possible to create benchmarks for specific customer/partner relationships and markets, and use predictive analytics to forecast estimated times of arrival, final costs, potential damage, et cetera.
Colaco’s vision for e2log is to build it into a billion-dollar ecosystem connecting shippers to logistics service providers offering cargo assessment, packing preparation, loading, port handling, international transportation, customs clearance, loading onto trucks, and off-loading at the destination, all while maintaining end-to-end visibility on a cloud platform with realtime multi-party views.