Freightos, a startup that wants to digitize more of the international logistics process, announced today that it has raised a $25 million Series B extension round led by GE Ventures, General Electrics’ venture capital arm.
This brings the total funding raised by Freightos, which was founded in 2012 and is based in Hong Kong, to $50 million. Its initial Series B of $14 million closed in 2015.
Founder and CEO Zvi Schreiber says Freightos added GE Ventures to the round because one of his previous companies, Lightech, was acquired by the conglomerate in 2011. Schreiber wanted to continue working with GE, which he describes as an important strategic investor for Freightos.
“GE is such a big industrial company and it is helpful to us because it gives us insight into the world’s biggest shippers,” he told TechCrunch. “They are potentially a big customer for Freightos.”
The startup’s new capital will be used to launch Freightos Marketplace, which Schreiber describes as “booking.com, but for international shipping,” into more countries. The service lets customers compare freight-forwarding quotes and book online and is currently available in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the U.S. Freightos’ goal is to expand to the rest of Asia and Europe.
Freightos’ other flagship product is software-as-a-service called AcceleRate that lets carriers and freight forwarders automatically calculate and manage rates. The startup says its SaaS is already used by over 1,000 logistics providers and global supply chain companies, including Nippon Express, Hellman Worldwide Logistics and Sysco Foods.
In a prepared statement, GE Ventures’ managing director of Israel Jonathan Pulitzer said “Logistics digitization is a strong strategic complement for General Electric’s role as the world’s leading digital industrial company. 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.”
Managing international cargo shipments is a tedious process that still involves a lot of paperwork and Freightos is just one of a fleet of logistics startups that have attracted venture capitalists over the last couple of years. Amazon also recently begun providing freight-forwarding services for some of its partners in China, opening the possibility that more e-commerce companies may start insourcing more of their logistics to save money and speed up deliveries.
Amazon currently doesn’t compete with Freightos, but Schreiber concedes that it may eventually become a more direct threat to logistics startups if it decides to scale up its logistics services. For now, however, Schreiber says companies like his can help freight forwarders get ready for the future.
“In many ways, Freightos is helping them prepare for that, by helping the biggest freight forwarders in the world become more automated,” he says. “That will make sure they are ready against the threat of competition from companies like Amazon.”