XPO makes Fortune Future 50 list; KeepTruckin, Transfix recognized as potential unicorn companies

XPO Logistics truck.jpg

Several companies within the freight world have been honored this week by leading financial publications, showing once again that the trucking industry remains an important force in the global economy.

XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) was named to the Fortune Future 50 list of U.S. public companies. KeepTruckin and Transfix were both honored by Forbes as two of its 25 companies (across all sectors) most likely to achieve unicorn status with a billion-dollar valuation.

The Fortune Future 50 ranks companies with the best prospects for long-term growth, the publication said. Fortune uses 17 different considerations in its methodology, including strategy, structure, technology and people as well as the company’s board composition and environmental/social standards.

The Fortune list also includes companies like Netflix, Salesforce, Nvidia, Alibaba, Amazon and PayPal.

“We’re honored to be selected as a Fortune Future 50 company – it speaks to our ability to achieve phenomenal long-term growth. The criteria that Fortune set for this list include many vital attributes, such as clarity of vision, agility and investments in technology. These are core strengths of XPO,” said Bradley Jacobs, CEO.

Fortune said this of XPO: “In August, XPO said it had its eye on a dozen other companies and is prepared to spend up to $8 billion. But XPO also has opportunities for organic growth. In April, it launched XPO Direct, which ­allows retailers to rent space from XPO in areas where the stores don’t have warehouses. This enables retailers to better fulfill the e-commerce promises they’ve made in their efforts to fend off Amazon. It’s a move that could eventually make XPO an Amazon competitor.”

Several automotive companies made the list, including Tesla and BYD. BYD started with rechargeable batteries for smartphone makers, but the China-based company has since grown and is now offering electric trucks out of a California facility. It is the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles, Fortune said.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holds a 8.25% stake in the company.

KeepTruckin and Transfix were both named to the Forbes list. Forbes asked 200 venture capitalists to nominate companies they thought were most likely to achieve unicorn status. The field was cut to 100 and then to 25, with voters looking at revenue, funding and their most recent valuation.

“Being chosen by Forbes as a next billion dollar startup highlights the importance of bringing modern technology to an underserved market that deserves, and desires, to be connected. This recognition shows how fleet management is no longer just about bringing trucks online, it’s about creating simple and robust solutions that improve efficiency and safety,” KeepTruckin CEO Shoaib Makani told FreightWaves. “KeepTruckin’s growth is driven by our ability to leverage data and machine learning to help fleets improve operational efficiency and safety. As our network of connected drivers grows, our exclusive partner integrations and data-driven insights will increase the transparency that fleets need to scale their business.”

KeepTruckin has raised $80 million in equity and has estimated 2018 revenue of $50 million, Forbes said. Backed by lead investors GV, Index Ventures, IVP and Scale Venture Partners, the company is helping transform the trucking industry.

“San Francisco-based KeepTruckin’s big idea: bring truckers and small trucking firms into the digital age, allowing them to log their hours and comply with regulations about the hours they drive on their phones. As the company has expanded, it has added sensors and video to its electronic-logging device that helps truckers drive more safely and efficiently,” the Forbes writeup notes.

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KeepTruckin was founded by Ryan Johns, Obaid Khan, and Makani.

Transfix, founded by CEO Drew McElroy and Johnathan Salama, has raised $78 million in equity to date with estimated 2018 revenue of $100 million, according to Forbes. Lead investors include Canvas Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.

“Transfix uses technology like machine learning to help match carriers with freight, still largely an old-school business done by phone or email. Transfix’s online service saves time and cuts down waste by routing trucks more efficiently so they, for example, don’t drive empty to their next pickups,” Forbes wrote.

“Since we founded Transfix five years ago, we have had a singular goal: to leverage cutting-edge technology to make the lives of truck drivers better and to make our customer’s supply chains more efficient,” wrote McElroy in a LinkedIn posting recognizing the honor.