GoFreight raises $23M to grow to be the “Shopify of freight forwarding” • TechCrunch

Unicorn Flexport is revolutionizing the world of logistics, serving as a freight forwarder with software program that permits clients to handle their shipments. However there are nonetheless 1000’s of smaller freight forwarders, many operating on outdated ERP software program or spreadsheets. A startup referred to as GoFreight needs to assist them compete by offering the “Shopify of freight forwarding,” with backend software program that makes their operations run extra easily, and a frontend that lets them arrange a storefront and supply quotes in a couple of minutes.

The Los Angeles and Taipei-based startup has raised $23 million in Collection A funding, co-led by Flex Capital and Headline. The spherical included participation from LFX Enterprise Companions, Palm Drive Capital and returning buyers Mucker Capital, Cornerstone Ventures and Purple Constructing Capital.

GoFreight, which at the moment has about 1,000 clients, helps handle transportation of products by means of ocean, air and land routes. It additionally lets them arrange on-line storefronts with just a few clicks. Potential clients can hook up with freight forwarders by sending them an inquiry by means of storefront and getting a citation inside a couple of minutes, as an alternative of the 24 to 48 hours normally needed.

As soon as a freight forwarding job is underway, shipments will be tracked with an EDI-integrated, real-time instrument, so freight forwarders and clients know precisely the place their cargo containers are. Monitoring software program additionally integrates with accounting instruments on GoFreight’s platform, so customers know the way the efficiency of shipments is impacting their earnings.

Co-founder and CEO Trenton Chen earned his Masters and PhD in the US earlier than returning to Taiwan to affix TSMC. At the moment, AppWorks and different startup packages have been getting quite a lot of consideration, and Chen determined he needed to grow to be an entrepreneur. He left TSMC (“it was a tricky determination, as a result of nobody agreed with that,” he advised TechCrunch), and gave himself six months to discover a viable concept. Throughout that point, one in every of his co-founders was dwelling in Los Angeles, working as an importer for a household enterprise.

“Once I was within the States, I knew lots of people on this business as properly. So lots of our good pals requested us to go there and see how unhealthy the software program is. So within the final month of my six month interval, I made a decision to provide it a possibility, purchased a ticket for 3 months to go to LA and spend time with the primary 10 freight forwarders, studying how they do enterprise with software program. We based GoFreight after the primary week we have been there,” Chen stated.

Though Chen says the worldwide freight forwarding market is price about $280 billion {dollars}, virtually all of the software program it runs on is outdated. GoFreight’s purpose is to empower conventional freight forwarders to remain aggressive with the identical high quality of know-how that Flexport has.

“A freight forwarding enterprise is about find out how to ship cargo from level A to level B. Software program can actually assist, however that’s not their predominant enterprise. The service itself is the principle enterprise and software program can’t assist decrease the delivery prices or get it there sooner. However it might probably definitely assist present extra beneficial data to clients, importers and exporters,” Chen stated, including, “We attempt to empower incumbents to compete with Flexport. That’s an method to make this whole business higher and sooner.”

Chen says GoFreight differentiates from different freight forwarding software program startups as a result of most of them are attempting to create new ERP system, or combine with current ones. That is difficult to do as a result of many freight forwarders use ERP techniques which might be old-fashioned, and it’s a fragmented market. Some don’t even use ERP techniques; as an alternative, they work off of spreadsheets or pen-and-paper techniques.

On the backend, GoFreight’s software program has gross sales, working and accounting instruments, so when clients have an inquiry, freight forwarders can enter it into their system after which come again with a citation. As soon as a job is confirmed, GoFreight manages bookings, real-time shipments and any needed digital filings. They’ll additionally generate and ship invoices by means of GoFreight.

“Very importantly, we’re making an attempt to grow to be the Shopify of the area, so in one-click they will open a web-based retailer, and their importers can use the web internet portal to ship an inquiry and it simply pops up within the system, routinely with pricing they usually can e-book their tickets on-line,” stated Chen. “So the entrance finish utility is so necessary and we offer visibility options as properly.”

A serious problem that GoFreight needs to resolve is the method of producing quotes, which may take a pair days since freight forwarding orders are advanced. For instance, if a buyer needs to ship three containers from Shanghai to Los Angeles, freight forwarders must examine with abroad brokers who’re additionally freight forwarders. Additionally they want to rearrange trucking and warehouses. One other factor to contemplate is spot charges versus contract charges, since spot charges will be a lot decrease.

Most of this work is finished by means of emails, telephone calls and textual content messages, however a centralized customer-facing app means freight forwarders can full the complete course of, together with checking with abroad brokers, by means of GoFreight’s integrations, which Chen says reduces the method from two days to about 10 or 20 seconds. GoFreight is at the moment working with companions to construct a community that connects clients with freight forwarders, and freight forwarders with carriers.

GoFreight additionally gives a digital cost answer, since most funds have been carried out by paper checks. This implies freight forwarders can difficulty a hyperlink to clients, and as soon as they click on on that they’re taken to GoFreight’s web site, the place they will resolve what invoices to pay with bank cards or financial institution accounts. Then that data goes again into GoFreight’s ERP system.

Analytics offered by GoFreight might help freight forwarders earn more money, Chen stated. For instance, in the event that they e-book a 40-foot container, GoFreight will file how a lot they paid for it and the way a lot clients have been charged. The system analyzes efficiency for prime clients and abroad brokers, uncovering hidden charges so freight forwarders have a greater understanding of the actual value of a cargo. It additionally breaks down prices per SKU, so freight forwarders and their clients know precisely how a lot it value to ship an merchandise.

The brand new funding shall be used to develop extra options like good quotations, price administration and buy order administration.

In an announcement in regards to the funding, Headline accomplice Tom Gieselmann stated, “GoFreight’s all-in-one software program gives better transparency to freight motion, permitting freight forwarders to higher handle their enterprise, which may vary wherever from 0-1500+ customers, end-to-end. This versatility makes the product extremely impactful, and a giant motive behind why we’ve recognized them as one of the vital promising logistics tech corporations in the marketplace.”

Edit: Title modified with right funding quantity.

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