“Across Logistics” Innovation News Release: February 2019

Logistics Innovation News
7 min read

Welcome to the February issue of “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release, where we are presenting you the latest innovative technologies and important news in logistics that happened over the last month.

Here is the list of topics in this issue:

Investing in the Digital Future of Logistics

This February, there were a handful of announcements about logistics startups raising colossal investments. This trend demonstrates an important thing – recent startups are becoming valid companies and the industry cannot exist without them.

Logistics Innovation News
Picture Credit: Roadie

Let’s take Roadie, an Atlanta-based peer-to-peer delivery company, which decided to build their service around the concept of Sharing Economy. Since it was launched in 2015, Roadie has teamed up with such brands as Delta, Walmart, the Home Depot, Kroger, Macy’s, and United to fulfill deliveries to over 224 metropolitan areas in the US. In addition to that, the company has worked with 120,000 drivers delivering in more than 11,000 locations which is a larger footprint than Amazon’s Prime Now two-hour delivery service.

With such a great record, it is no surprise that this month Roadie has secured $37 million in series C funding, with participation from The Home Depot, Warren Stephens’, former Alphabet chair Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures and other investors.

“Our model is a game changer for retailers, wholesalers, and consumers who want same-day delivery of any item, of any size, to any zip code, at any time. An investment like this further validates our crowdsourced model, which retailers are fast realizing is a highly flexible, scalable, and cost-efficient option to reach all of their customers, wherever they might live,” said Marc Gorlin, Roadie’s founder.

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Logistics Innovation News
Picture Credit: Lalamove

Another great example of this investment trend is Lalamove, a Hong Kong-based on-demand logistics startup. Founded in 2013 by Stanford graduate Shing Chow, the company provides an Uber-like logistics and delivery services primarily to business and corporate customers.

Recently, Lalamove has closed a $300 million Series D round to accelerate its expansion across Asia, also bringing its valuation to more than $1 billion. According to the company, the round is split in two, with Hillhouse Capital leading the “D1” tranche and Sequoia China heading up the “D2” portion. In addition to that, the round is backed by several new and returning investors.

“If we do this well, then we are in countries that are more than half the world’s population,” shared Blake Larson, Lalamove’s Head of International. Currently, in addition to Mainland China, where it covers more than 130 cities, the startup is presented in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand.

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Logistics Innovation News
Tony Xu, Doordash CEO and Co-Founder. Picture Credit: Gabriela Hasbun

Furthermore, the delivery company DoorDash has announced that it has raised $400 million in Series F financing. The investment values the company at $7.1 billion and was co-led by Temasek and Dragoneer Investment Group, with participation from the existing investors.

Currently being the second biggest player in the US online food delivery market and partnering with companies like Walmart, DoorDash has grown to 26.5% market share and their business has accelerated from over 250 percent year-over-year growth, at the time of our last financing, to 325 percent this year, making them the fastest growing last-mile logistics company at the moment.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves. If you just run the math on DoorDash’s course and speed, we’re on track to be number one. To me, this round really changes the position of the company, not only as we march towards market leadership but as we go beyond restaurants and become the last mile for commerce,” stated Tony Xu, Doordash CEO and Co-Founder in the interview for TechCrunch.

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Logistics Innovation News
Picture Credit: Flexport

But perhaps the most fascinating investment announcement comes from a San Francisco-based full-service air and ocean freight forwarderFlexport. According to the company, it has raised a massive $1 billion in fresh funding led by the SoftBank’s Vision Fund, bringing its valuation to $3.2 billion.

Since 2013, the company has already raised $305 million. Last year, Flexport has generated $471 million in revenue, up from $224.8 million in 2017. In fact, the freight forwarder is moving faster than it is updating its marketing materials – in a recent Forbes feature, Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen has stated that the company employs 1,066 people at the moment while their website states it has just 600 employees.

Flexport’s ultimate goal is to compete more directly with such logistics giants as DHL, FedEx, and UPS. Aiming to accomplish this goal, the freight forwarder now charters its own aircraft and operates 4 warehouses around the world as well.

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Port of Rotterdam Puts IoT Platform into Operation

Logistics Innovation News
Picture Credit: Port of Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has announced that it finalized the development of the brand new Internet of Things platform. The construction of the platform was announced a year ago by the collaborating partners IBM, Cisco, Esri, and Axians. With this application, the Port of Rotterdam is taking safety and efficiency a step further. The system uses an extensive network of sensors to provide accurate and up-to-date hydro/meteo data particularly for the planning and management of shipping.

“It’s a fantastic step in the development of Rotterdam as ‘smartest port’. Just as important, however, is that the cloud platform and the generated real-time information, which includes infrastructure, water and weather condition data, enable us to further improve mission-critical processes in the service to our clients,” stated Ronald Paul, the Port Authority’s CEO.

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Panalpina Launches Industry-Leading Customer Portal

Logistics Innovation News
Picture Credit: Panalpina

Panalpina has launched its new state-of-the-art digital customer portal. According to the company, clients will be able to manage their entire supply chain end-to-end with all partners in one digital place. They can request an instant quote, as well as book and track their shipments in an intuitive, integrated and seamless flow. As features are added, the portal will enable new capabilities including system-based procurement of services, web and electronic channels that offer Panalpina services and lead to contract closure as well as a wide range of integration, visibility and reporting services for suppliers and customers. The platform is currently available to selected customers by invitation only and estimated to launch globally during summer 2019.

“Digitalization is the number one trend in logistics and our new customer portal is an industry game changer. Customers, partners, and suppliers will increasingly expect to quote, buy, sell and deliver online using dedicated platforms and my priority is that Panalpina offers our customers an engaging, seamless digital experience,” added Stefan Karlen, Panalpina’s CEO.

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Ford Partners with Gnewt to Innovate Parcel Delivery

Logistics Innovation News
Picture Credit: Ford

This month, Ford has announced its partnership with delivery company Gnewt by Menzies Distribution to trial new digital parcel courier service designed to help reduce congestion and offer faster deliveries by coordinating multiple modes of transport including pedestrian and potentially bicycle couriers.

During the trial, Gnewt’s “last mile” delivery service will be driven by Ford’s intelligent cloud-based multimodal routing and logistics software MoDe:Link, that manages all aspects of parcel delivery from the depot to the doorstep. This could help couriers, fleet managers, logistics and food delivery companies optimize processes and increase van utilization, saving time and money while boosting capacity.

“Our goal is to keep larger vehicles like delivery vans operating in the high load, less congested environments in which they perform best. However, for the last mile of a journey into an urban area, where congestion and lack of parking can be a challenge, it makes sense to offload deliveries to more nimble, efficient and cost-effective modes of transport,” – said Tom Thompson, a Project Lead at Ford Mobility.

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