GE Ventures leads $25m funding round in Israeli freight firm

Logistics tech company Freightos looks to expand its database of air, ocean and land shipping rates globally

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative photo of a cargo ship at the Haifa Port. (Yaakov Nahumi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a cargo ship at the Haifa Port. (Yaakov Nahumi/Flash90)

Israel’s Freightos, the company that wants to bring innovation to the international freight market, said it has completed a $25 million Series B round, led by GE Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to $50 million, Freightos said.

The money will be used to grow the company’s online freight marketplace globally — and include more global routes and shipping companies as sellers — and to further develop its software that enables freight pricing comparisons, routing, and sales automation, the company said.

“As we expand globally, our next step is targeting routes with high trade volume, like routes from Europe to the US,” said Eytan Buchman, the marketing director of Freightos. The website already allows companies to order freight deliveries and compare prices on routes from China to the US and from India and the UK to the US.

Since its launch in July last year, the Freightos Marketplace – a website that allows businesses to get instant comparisons, booking, and management of freight services from multiple logistics providers — has seen a 600% increase in orders in the first six months, a 100% growth in orders in the first quarter of this year over the previous quarter.

Freightos' online marketplace for international freight (Courtesy
Freightos’s online marketplace for international freight (Courtesy)

There are over 10,000 registered users of the site, and dozens of sellers, including top 20 global freight forwarders, the company said in a statement. At the heart of the Freightos Marketplace and its software are big data automation techniques, a patent-pending freight pricing and routing engine, and a database of hundreds of millions of ocean, air and land freight price rates, updated daily.

“The age of digital logistics has arrived,” said Zvi Schreiber, founder and CEO of Freightos. “And with it easier importing and exporting for businesses worldwide. This once-neglected sector is ripe for digitization.”

Freightos technology already digitizes freight operations for over 1,000 logistics providers and global supply chain companies, including Nippon Express, CEVA Logistics, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and Sysco Foods. The Freightos’ International Freight Index provides free global freight rates insights, a service that otherwise costs thousands of dollars, help increasing transparency in the freight delivery sector.

Not sexy, but essential

The trillion-dollar logistics industry “doesn’t sound like a sexy tech industry,” said Buchman, but it “literally keeps us fed, dressed and stocked with gadgets.”

“Everything in the world comes from somewhere, and it’s this supply chain running in the background that makes it happen,” he added. “Given the role it plays in the global economy, it’s not a surprise that more and more tech companies are entering the space.”

Freightos marketing director Eytan Buchman (Courtesy)
Freightos marketing director Eytan Buchman (Courtesy)

Investments in supply chain technology increased from a little over $2 billion dollars in 2015 to over $5 billion in 2016, he said, with Amazon, Uber and Alibaba are all entering the logistics sector as well.

“Freight shipping will take place through containers, packages and airplanes for the foreseeable future. The race is now on to see who can move freight data better,” Buchman said.

Freightos’ global freight database includes over 300 million unique shipping options for different routes and shipment types, the company said.

“In just five years, Freightos technology has helped a thousand logistics providers operate more efficiently, while the Freightos Marketplace has shown fantastic growth and retention indicators,” said Jonathan Pulitzer, GE Venture’s managing director in Israel.

In August 2016, Jerusalem-based Freightos acquired WebCargoNet, a Barcelona-based technology provider of air cargo rate management and eBookings.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Zvi Schreiber, Freightos is incorporated in Hong Kong. Its investors include Aleph VC, Annox Capital, Gold Lion Holdings Limited, ICV, Master (HK) Toys, MSR Capital, OurCrowd and Sadara Ventures.

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