California-based digital forwarder Flexport yesterday announced it has secured $1bn in a funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund with participation from existing investors Founders Fund, DST Global, Cherubic Ventures, Susa Ventures and China’s SF Express.
Flexport, founded in 2013, said it will use the capital to deepen its technology and data capabilities, grow its global logistics infrastructure footprint, and invest in industry expertise to help clients navigate what it described in a release as “increasingly complex global trade environments”.
“Our vision is to unite the planet in a seamless web of commerce, unhindered by physical borders, boundaries or political agendas,” said Ryan Petersen, founder and CEO of Flexport. “The Vision Fund shares our belief in using technology to create a better, more interconnected world and their support will propel us into that future, making global trade easier for everyone.”
“Logistics is a $7trn industry that is crucial for global trade, yet extraordinarily fragmented. Even the largest companies only hold single-digit market share,” said Michael Ronen, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA). “Flexport’s pioneering use of technology and its data advantage position the company for exceptional growth in this multi-trillion dollar industry.” Ronen will represent SBIA on the Flexport board, and Ed Shrager, director at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join as a board observer.
In 2018, Flexport doubled top-line revenue, generating nearly $500m in sales, increased headcount to nearly 1,000 employees, expanded its geographic presence to 11 offices and warehouses around the world, and in September achieved the ranking of 11th largest freight forwarder by ocean volume on the transpacific eastbound.
It’s very interesting to listen to all the different perspectives on @flexport $3.2 billion valuation. Personally, seeing as DSV is offering +$4 billion for Panalpina and watching the trajectory of both businesses, I know which one I would invest in…
— Conor Hagan (@Conorhagan) February 21, 2019