After three years of putting their heads down and executing on a data-infused vision, Parade is ready. This week the San Francisco-based upstart announces an innovative approach for freight brokerages. It’s called the Carrier Relationship Platform, and it uses data to organize and automate a company’s processes with a unique approach: delivering targeting engagements to strengthen relationships.
The A.I. engine enables freight brokerage teams to re-utilize carriers’ data to create consistent capacity, automate grunt work to reduce operating costs, and finally to deliver targeted engagements strengthening carrier relationships.
Why would brokerages want this? Brokerages have a vast amount of historical data load data, carrier preferences, and location data tucked away in their Transportation Management System (TMS) and email inboxes. This information amounts to untapped carrier relationship and capacity data. Parade’s Carrier Relationship Platform is created specifically to convert this trove of unstructured data into useful capacity insights and actions.
The platform’s features include smart carrier profiles, email capacity extraction, real-time freight matching, and interactive carrier feedback. These features culminate in an innovative way to understand predict, and engage with carriers’ real-time needs in order to accelerate securing capacity quickly and consistently.
In an exclusive interview, co-founder and chief business officer, Preet Sivia tells FreightWaves about how he grew up in the industry. Raised by his owner-operator uncle, as well as having other family members in the industry who were brokers, you could say that freight is his “lane.” But the interesting intersection between freight and tech doesn’t end there.
He literally grew up in Silicon Valley. Preet’s dad moved to the area and started an Indian restaurant in Cupertino. He says, “Apple Developers are said to have designed parts of their computers on napkins in my dad’s restaurant.”
How? Well, Apple headquarters was next door.
“You could say it was an incredible background of opportunity where I was seeing the white and blue collar. So I got together with Anthony and Tony,” his two “techy” friends and cofounders. “They were both specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning, but besides that they are the sharpest products and engineering minds out there, the exact type of founders Parade needed to take on this enormous challenge.”
Preet has been moving loads since he was 18. People like Preet’s uncle were sending out emails and making calls to brokers all day long.
“Parade’s first product solved the one problem of email extraction, but wasn’t an end-to-end solution. Parade is the second step of the solution, and really where the bigger dream always was.
“The second level now is to grow the relationships. Finding the historical information based on what carriers and brokers are doing,” he says.
Now they’re sending increasingly accurate and targeted emails, sent to people like Preet’s uncle. Not only do you increase utilization, you need to grow partnerships with brokers, and that ultimately is what it’s all about.
The idea now is to bring operationally-experienced brokerages closer to the most advanced capacity technology on the market. Parade is currently available and fully compatible with the leading Transportation Management Systems (TMS) including Mercury Gate, McLeod, Transport Pro, TMW and more.
They’ve already long since been beta-testing, and also partnering with other brokerages, like last month’s announcement of rolling out the full platform for Nolan Transportation Group (NTG).
“We license our tech. We want mass distribution. There’s so many people on the carrier and the brokerage side. We’ll sell it to anyone but Uber Freight,” says Sivia.
“Because our thesis is that they’re already tech companies. They’re already trying to disrupt the industry. These brokerages have so many segments and already have a vast moat of data, they just need some help utilizing it effectively to make it a competitive advantage. You’re not going to disrupt trucking like you can with the taxi industry. Their whole philosophy is to bring themselves ahead and kill the margins. They’re seeing it as a unique opportunity to automate the industry. We want to democratize it. We want to be a partner with these everyday brokerages to help them out, while the Uber Freight’s want to increase their revenue per head and consolidate the industry.”
Sivia says that Parade is more like the intelligence layer on top of a brokerage’s existing system. “How can we take things like the historical actions, live emails, location data feeding into their TMS, and to take all this info and to do engagement with drivers in a smart and predictive way? It’s a relationship platform that is making both the carriers and shippers happier. You are saving carriers time and you are helping shippers as well. We can keep sending Bob the same carriers there again and again and they’ll get used to the terms and setting up on time. This carrier relationship platform is the key to brokerages becoming more efficient per employee. Get the info back to your employees and empower them.”