GoFreight raises $28M to develop into the “Shopify of freight forwarding”

Unicorn Flexport is revolutionizing the world of logistics, serving as a freight forwarder with software program that allows clients to administer their shipments. However there are nonetheless 1000’s of smaller freight forwarders, many operating on outdated ERP software program or spreadsheets. A startup known as GoFreight desires 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 traders Mucker Capital, Cornerstone Ventures and Pink Constructing Capital.

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

As soon as a freight forwarding job is underway, shipments could 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 america earlier than returning to Taiwan to hitch TSMC. At the moment, AppWorks and different startup packages have been getting numerous consideration, and Chen determined he desired to develop into an entrepreneur. He left TSMC (“it was a tricky resolution, as a result of nobody agreed with that,” he informed TechCrunch), and gave himself six months to search out a viable thought. Throughout that point, one in every of his co-founders was residing in Los Angeles, working as an importer for a household enterprise.

“After I was within the States, I knew numerous individuals on this trade as nicely. So a lot 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 present 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 mentioned.

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freight forwarding market is price about $280 billion {dollars}, just about all the software program it runs on is outdated.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

“A freight forwarding enterprise is about how you can 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 predominant enterprise and software program can not assist reduce the delivery prices or get it there sooner. However it might actually assist present further worthwhile data to clients, importers and exporters,” Chen mentioned, including, “We attempt to empower incumbents to compete with Flexport. That’s an method to make this complete trade 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 latest ERP system, or combine with current ones. That is difficult to do as a result of many freight forwarders use ERP programs which can be outdated, and it’s a fragmented market. Some don’t even use ERP programs; as an alternative, they work off of spreadsheets or pen-and-paper programs.

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 vital digital filings. They may generate and ship invoices by way of GoFreight.

“Very importantly, we’re attempting to develop into the Shopify of the house, 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, mechanically with pricing and so they can e book their tickets on-line,” mentioned Chen. “So the entrance finish utility is so vital and we offer visibility options as nicely.”

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

Most of this work is completed by way 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 way of GoFreight’s integrations, which Chen says reduces the method from two days to about 10 or 20 seconds. GoFreight is at present working with companions to construct a community that connects clients with freight forwarders, and freight forwarders with carriers.

GoFreight additionally offers a digital fee resolution, since most funds have been executed by paper checks. This implies freight forwarders can problem 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 mentioned. For instance, in the event that they e book a 40-foot container, GoFreight will document how a lot they paid for it and the way a lot clients have been charged. The system analyzes efficiency for high clients and abroad brokers, uncovering hidden charges so freight forwarders have a greater understanding of the true price of a cargo. It additionally breaks down prices per SKU, so freight forwarders and their clients know precisely how a lot it price to ship an merchandise.

The brand new funding can be used to develop extra options like sensible quotations, charge administration and buy order administration.

In an announcement concerning the funding, Headline accomplice Tom Gieselmann mentioned, “GoFreight’s all-in-one software program offers larger transparency to freight motion, permitting freight forwarders to higher handle their enterprise, which may vary anyplace from 0-1500+ customers, end-to-end. This versatility makes the product extremely impactful, and a giant cause behind why we’ve recognized them as one of the vital promising logistics tech firms available on the market.”

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