This article is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the best logistics startups today.
Everything is connected. In fact, there are currently over 26 billion connected devices in the world today, and that number is only expected to skyrocket further to 75 billion by 2025. So what do all of these connected devices mean for the world of logistics? Quite a lot, actually. By using connected devices, logistics companies can offer better location tracking, improved environment sensing, transparent fleet management, and eco-friendly shipping, to name a few. In fact, Cisco and DHL estimated that IoT technologies could create $1.9 trillion in economic value for the global supply chain and logistics sector.
Why has IoT made such a big impact on the logistics industry in such a short time? One big reason comes from the increasing popularity of third-party logistics companies in recent years, which offer an easier way to maintain the entire supply chain. To manage logistics from the outside, these third-party companies are using asset tracking through connected devices to make the process smooth and seamless. Tagged parcels and containers allow warehouses to track inventory, vehicles, and equipment through cloud services. Fleet management also becomes easier through real-time monitoring of vehicle and driver performance, using collected data to improve operations. This includes increasing fuel efficiency, implementing preventative maintenance and making operations proactive instead of reactive.
IoT sensor technology is also vital for the logistics companies of today: with sensors allowing full visibility inside shipments while they’re in motion, helping to ensure they reach their destination in the customer’s anticipated condition. The Internet of Things contains a multitude of possibilities which logistics tech startups are now taking advantage of: In 2018, 60% of global manufacturers used analytics data recorded from connected devices to review their processes and identify optimization possibilities. And according to General Electric, the implementation of these IoT devices will add $10 to $15 trillion to worldwide gross domestic product growth by 2030 – the equivalent of China’s entire current economy.
Companies from around the globe are discovering more exciting ways to exploit the Internet of Things for additional efficiency and productivity. Here are some of the most exciting IoT logistics startups in the game today.
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By combining cellular and IoT technologies like Bluetooth and LoRa, Globe Tracker is addressing end to end cold chain visibility for logistics companies. Its suite includes remote temperature monitoring, compliance, and visibility tools in an effort to make the cold chain more efficient, reliable, and improve the quality of perishable transport around the world. Its main solution is in the maritime sector for refrigerated containers or reefers. For this sector, they provide two-way communication to refrigerated containers no matter the brand or model – even if the reefers were created over 20 years ago.
By being among the best IoT logistics startups, the Danish company also leverages IoT technologies to provide wireless sensors that can be placed in the cargo area or on the pallets inside the reefer. This means that the wireless sensors can provide a picture of what is happening inside the cargo area in real-time. This IoT technology can bring new operational and efficiency benefits while providing revenue-generating models. As a bonus, this means Globe Tracker’s clients can create an even stronger relationship with their end customers, shippers, and/or Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCO’s).
Founders: Jim Davis
Headquarters: Copenhagen, Denmark
Learn more about Globe Tracker:
- ” Samskip Selects Globe Tracker for Reefer IoT Solution” – Hellenic Shipping News
- “Logistics Startup of the Month: Globe Tracker” – Transmetrics Blog
Want to start tracking non-powered assets like pallets, containers, trailers, or manufacturing parts? Belgian startup Sensolus may be your solution. Using its tracking STICKNTRACK asset management service technology on all of the above, any logistics company can add new visibility and transparency into its supply chain and logistics operations, offering the power to improve processes and reduce costs. The solution is built to be energy-efficient, easy to install, operationally scalable, and highly reliable in industrial environments. The geo-localization solution can also be further optimized by adding it to the SIGFOX IoT connectivity and global network.
Sensolus has already been named one of Europe’s 20 most innovative IoT logistics startups by Silicon Republic and earned €2.75 million in funding in 2017. Additionally, they’re expanding their operations after winning a major contract with Airbus, which will use Sensolus’ tracking technology to monitor thousands of recyclable packages in real-time, allowing Airbus to manage and optimize the logistics activities for the entire group.
Founders: Kristoff Van Rattinghe
Learn more about Sensolus:
- “Belgian startup SENSOLUS wins a major contract with Airbus for the launch of their Internet-of-Things services” – SigFox
- “TCR Signs Partnership Agreement with Sensolus for Non-motorized GSE” – Aviation Pros
Four-year-old startup MOST is known for its monitoring solution which controls the conditions of goods during transportation in real-time. Its easily customized software solution and IoT hardware lower costs and increases control for monitoring from farms, factories, and distribution centers. Thanks to its software, the startup has already found client bases across six continents.
Working on the 2G GSM network, MOST delivers data to its clients about the position, temperature, humidity, shock, and light of shipments to its online platform or even directly to the client’s internal monitoring system via APIs. The company is also very aware of its environmental impact, using its proactive solution to help save cargo or reroute cargo that has been under strain and created rechargeable devices to help out the environment even further. MOST devices can easily be added to any type of shipment and be developed as a third-party security measure.
Founders: Erich Hugo and Nils Tunebjer
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
Social Media: LinkedIn
Learn more about MOST:
- “Logistics Startup of the Month: MOST” – Transmetrics Blog
- “MOST and Absortech Group in Partnership to Tackle Moisture Damage” – The Maritime Executive
Paper driving logs are a thing of the past, and it’s clear that the entire trucking industry is ready for digital transformation. That’s exactly why KeepTruckin created an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and a free mobile app which helps truckers easily create logs on their phones and put the paper in the past where it belongs. Created in 2013, its ELD device is now in use by over 50,000 carriers, representing just over half of the current market. But while the initial focus of the company was on modernizing drivers’ logs, the startup has since shifted to also launch new software to solve ELD compliance issues and telematics hardware devices, driver safety initiatives, and more IoT devices and software.
To continue on their path of development, KeepTruckin raised $149M USD in a Series D round of funding in April 2019, leading them to a whopping $1.25B USD valuation. The startup will use the new funds to expand its operations and double its employee headcount to 2,000 in the near future. With developments already in the works to add in-cab safety video tools to help drivers defend themselves in the case of accidents and a loading board for drivers, the Series D funding will now take KeepTruckin’s expansion efforts even further. Now, with the massive growth of its team, the company will aim to add trailer and asset tracking to its increasing suite of products. “Our mission is to connect the world’s trucks and fundamentally improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking industry. We believe that if you can model the past, you can predict and even shape the future,” KeepTruckin co-founder Shoaib Makani told VentureBeat.
Founders: Obaid Khan, Ryan Johns, Shoaib Makani
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA
Learn more about KeepTruckin:
- “KeepTruckin launches the load board to use ELD-based matching” – FreightWaves
- “KeepTruckin Launches Integration Marketplace” – Truckinginfo
Traxens is a supply chain visibility company helping to implement IoT technology in sea, road and freight rail operations around the globe. Its solution allows local interconnection of different devices without wiring, which creates easier ways to conduct condition and composition monitoring and improve overall operations. Its innovations have been noticed by some of the big players: Maersk recently announced it will be joining CMA CGM and MSC as a key shareholder and customer of Traxens. The shipping giant has also committed to ordering up to 50,000 Traxens devices.
In addition to the exciting Maersk partnership, the startup also raised nearly €20M ($22.7M) over the summer in 2019 to expand its global operations, particularly in Asia. With the help of that funding, Traxens has partnered with CFL Multimodal, the New Silk Road and SNCF Logistics to develop its “digital freight trains.” After announcing the partnership, SNCF stated, “A majority of shippers say they are willing to resort to more rail freight if certain criteria such as real-time data and on-time deliveries are better taken into account – which would be guaranteed with future digital freight trains.” Put simply, Traxens is quickly making inroads into a new future for digital freight.
Founders: Michel Fallah
Headquarters: Marseilles, France
Learn more about Traxens:
- “Traxens gets Maersk investment, 150,000 order for trackers, role in the port project” – Enterprise IoT Insights
- “Traxens Rail Solution to Boost Silk Road Supply Chain” – Port Technology
Scandit is a Swiss startup in the business of integrating real-time data, which is captured from barcodes, text, objects and other visual identifiers, to inform employees via headsets. The technology seeks to change the way enterprises and customers interact with everyday objects to augment the physical world including the world of warehousing.
Founded in 2009 by a group of researchers from MIT, ETH Zurich, and IBM Research, Scandit offers a cloud-based enterprise mobility and data capture platform for smart devices built on proprietary computer vision, machine learning and augmented reality. Its actionable information is presented via AR to help employees make the right decisions, right on the spot. Its MatrixScan technology can be used to capture an entire set of barcodes in a single sequence, saving employees a ton of time.
Its AR software is also a unique time-saver by blending the physical and digital world. It can be used to show employees stock levels of products in a retail aisle or product reviews for shoppers while they have the item in their hands, offering real operational benefits. Scandit is also thinking about innovating for the future with its AR software, which can already be integrated into drones, digital eyewear, and robots.
Founders: Christian Floerkemeier, Christof Roduner, Samuel Mueller
Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland
Learn more about Scandit:
- “Hermes UK closer to digital transformation goals with Scandit” – Business Chief
- “Scandit Opens R&D Office in Tampere, Finland to Strengthen Leadership in Mobile Computer Vision and Augmented Reality” – Yahoo Finance
Evertracker is one of the first IoT logistics startups to use artificial intelligence to learn an organization’s processes and workflows of their supply chain and logistics managers. The software provides customers with more control over individual processes such as shipments, and in particular, offers better control over processes like orders and processing. And in May 2019, they launched what they say is the first-ever smart and neutral control tower, enabling companies to track all their parts, supplies and products through a single platform. According to CEO Marcus Schmitt, its algorithms are also able to detect delays in real-time based on supply chain processes.
Some of the biggest factors contributing to inefficiency in the supply chain are unreliable scans by employees, inaccurate RFID timestamps, and inadequate tracking of delivery vehicles. Evertracker collects real-time data and uses its intelligent and self-learning algorithms to help logistics and supply chain managers make better decisions faster, automate processes, and identify difficulties and vulnerabilities before they arise. Its new control tower platform also allows companies with delayed shipments to predict new arrival times without needing to interact with service providers.
Founders: Marc Schmitt
Headquarters: Hamburg, Germany
Learn more about Evertracker:
- “The New Age Enterprise – Enabled by AI” – Forbes
- “Evertracker: An IoT Platform That Will Revolutionize the Supply Chain” – Disruptor Daily
Since its launch in 2015, Samsara has quickly risen to the top of IoT logistics startups around the world. After raising $100 million in late 2018, the connected operations company is now valued at $3.6 billion — not too bad for a four-year-old business! What makes Samsara so valuable? Its cloud-based software uses real-time GPS tracking, wireless sensors, dash cams, and mobile apps to help organizations manage their fleets with complete transparency. Additionally, it offers plug-and-play hardware to further connect fleet operations for transportation, logistics, food delivery, and manufacturing. With nearly a dozen different products designed to work together for comprehensive fleet management, Samsara is quickly becoming a go-to solution for companies with small and large fleets who want to lower fuel consumption, prevent accidents, automate manual processes, and improve product quality.
Its IoT products, built specifically for previously non-technologically savvy industries, have skyrocketed the company into the spotlight: Samsara ranked 16th on LinkedIn’s 2018 list of the Top 50 Startups, and CEO Sanjit Biswas was the most highly rated CEO of a small or medium business on the job review site Glassdoor in 2018. With hundreds of millions in funding under their belt, it will be interesting to see how they expand their operations and further disrupt the logistics industry in the coming years.
Founders: John Bicket, Sanjit Biswas
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
Learn more about Samsara:
- “Samsara banks $100M at a $3.6B valuation for its internet-connected sensors” – TechCrunch
- “The Best IoT Companies To Work For In 2019 Based On Glassdoor” – Forbes
For the transportation industry, operational costs can be very high, making failures very costly. For example, reducing just 2% a fleet fuel cost of $500M would equal $10M in savings, enough to make a big impact on a business’ bottom line. That’s why, in the digital age, many logistics and transportation companies are implementing cost optimization projects. The challenge for such projects is the lack of any standard, both in equipment and in the data collection and integration to diverse enterprise applications.
Alleantia aims to solve all of these challenges with its Plug & Play Industry 4.0 solution, fully suited to support Industrial IoT requirements for logistics and transportation. The flexible architecture supports local visualization supporting the staff, and provide the information to Cloud applications, used by headquarters to analyze information and integrate data with other critical business processes. Launched in 2011, some of Alleantia’s biggest customers now include Brembo, TIM, Ansaldo Energia, Microsoft, Advantech, and Dell.
Founders: Antonio Conati Barbaro, Marco Bicocchi Pichi, Stefano Linari
Headquarters: Pisa, Italy
Learn more about Alleantia:
- “Alleantia and Boomi Partner to Integrate IoT Data for Manufacturers” – DELL Boomi
- “Advantech teams up with Alleantia to co-create a European smart factory market” – DigiTimes
Nexxiot was initially born as a spinoff from one of the world’s highest-ranked technical universities, ETH Zürich. Since then, it has risen to become one of Europe’s leading providers of integrated digital supply chain solutions and is now recognized among the best IoT logistics Startups. Now, it equips fleets with smart logistics assets such as with low-power sensors. These sensors create insights for companies with full data on location, movement, physical shock, and more in almost real-time. Additionally, It integrates with analytics platforms to generate complex events and “machine-to-machine” communication with the clients’ systems.
In May 2019, Nexxiot raised over USD $35 million (€32M, roughly) from DiaMedCare AG to launch a new generation of IoT sensors. Its IoT device, the Globehopper smart sensor module, uses GPS technology to track and trace assets and allow near-real-time rail fleet management based on asset availability and position. Its Globehopper module also offers the ability to automate maintenance scheduling, shock monitoring, and trip management and notifications.
Founders: Manuel Davy
Headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland
Learn more about Nexxiot: