And now, the freight forwarder, which operates globally, can add another enviable investor to its list: SoftBank. The Japanese bank’s Vision Fund just led a $1 billion investment round into Flexport, which is now valued at $3.2 billion.
Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen wrote today that the funding will be used for “creating incredible experiences” for its nearly-10,000 clients and suppliers, who are located across 200 countries.
Founded in 2013, Flexport is already the 11th-largest freight forwarder in the world.
Usually, retailers don’t directly manage how their manufactured goods move from, say, a factory in China, across the Pacific via ocean freighter, from a California port to the train tracks, and then from the train to truck to warehouse. Instead, retailers turn that complicated process over to a freight forwarder.
Flexport is different from others in the $2 trillion industry in that it relies on a technology-enabled platform to connect companies and those who move goods via air and ocean. Flexport said that allows companies to quickly assess where their goods are and when they’re arriving, while cutting down on tradition freight forwarding costs.
Such platforms have become common across the logistics industry. In trucking, startups like Uber Freight, Transfix, and Convoy are directly connecting retailers with trucking companies or truckers.
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