An enterprise software startup that helps trucking companies automate workflow has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Goldcrest Capital with participation from 8VC and Congruent Ventures.
San Francisco-based Vector helps companies move more freight with fewer resources, said CEO and co-founder Will Chu.
“Global commerce is documented on bills of lading (BOL), the system of record for freight movements,” he said. But the paper-based system is slow and inefficient, with drivers often forced to pull in at truck stops to fax paperwork or send it via overnight mail, negatively impacting cash flow for trucking companies.
Vector’s first product, a mobile scanning app called LoadDocs, speeds up the process. Using a smartphone camera, drivers can scan and digitize freight documents, cutting down on the phone calls and physical paperwork required to complete a delivery.
The process opens up the opportunity for back office optimization, as fleets and customers can mine the information for data analytics and to communicate with partners on deliveries and pickups.
“Fleets spend a lot of time managing paperwork, doing manual data entry, and invoicing customers,” said Chu. “Our product streamlines that entire process by recognizing the required freight documents and enabling our customers to automate invoice creation and collection. We want our customers focused on their logistics business and not the paperwork business.”
Vector will use the Series A funding to expand back office solutions, said Chu, adding that “Goldcrest Capital and 8VC have been really fantastic in terms of business development and helping us grow and scale.”
8VC is active in the logistics industry and Goldcrest boasts an extensive logistics network. “They’ve been great in finding customers,” Chu said.
Vector is partnered with TMS and Telematics platforms such as Trimble and Platform Science, integration partners that have “really accelerated our growth, and we’ve been able to add a lot of new powerful functionality to their current software”, says Chu.
A software engineer by trade, Chu previously helped to start Addepar, a wealth management platform that gives wealth advisors, family offices and banks visibility into their portfolios.
He and his team became interested in applying a similar digital solution to freight after spending time with a family friend of Chu’s who owned a trucking outfit in California. Seeing that the friend’s “biggest pain points” revolved around sorting paperwork, Chu built a platform to help get documents into the offices faster,.
He sensed a bigger opportunity, and today, Vector can point to case studies showing how the startup has helped logistics companies like Tribe Transportation and Crestwood Transportation boost productivity while saving time and money.
The fragmentation of trucking has led to paper being the de-facto medium of communication of logistics. said Chu. “Everything people understand is paper, and since everything valuable is on that paper, it becomes very hard to bring that paper into digital age.”
Vector is providing a necessary first step. “Our start with data automation has enabled our customers to grow much faster than their peers in a very competitive environment.”
Disclosure: 8VC has participated in FreightWaves’ capital raises.
Update: This article has been amended to reflect the following corrections and clarifications: Vector is an enterprise software company and not a digital logistics startup. Addepar is a wealth management platform, not a load management platform. 8VC participated but did not lead the Series A round. Congruent Ventures also participated in the round.