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Power players: Meet the CEOs of 10 logistics startups raising huge rounds to remake the supply chain from port to porch

13 Jun 2021
Category: News
Author: Evan Pundyk
  • For the past two years, venture capital has been rapidly flowing into the logistics space.
  • The 10 highest-raising logistics startups have landed more than $1 billion this year.
  • Many top logistics founders set out to fix problems they encountered working in the industry.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In the year leading up to the pandemic, logistics startups posted some of the largest rounds the industry had ever seen. But once the impact of COVID-19 waylaid the global supply chain, the rounds seemed to flow in even faster.

Combined, the 10 startups below — all of them aiming to rethink how goods are moved and tracked from port to porch — have raised more than $1 billion this year.

The capacity of incumbent players, from monitoring freight movements starting at the factory to booking trucks in the US and delivering consumer goods purchased online, was stretched in 2020 as decades-old systems started to break down.

Project44’s recent $202 million Series E is one such eyebrow-raising funding round. CEO Jett McCandless told Insider the desperation of businesses trying to move goods in an environment marred by record freight rates, port congestion, low airfreight capacity, and labor shortages had created an enormous opportunity for anyone that can help. And since startups tend to be more agile than their incumbent counterparts, they’re winning big by developing new capabilities and services on the fly.

But even in the middle of a once-in-a-100-years event that bolstered demand for logistics tech and innovation, McCandless said fundraising was a skill founders and CEOs needed to develop.

“The No. 1 job as a CEO is to make sure you don’t run out of capital. If you’re going to run a company that’s cash-flow-negative, which a lot of tech startups are … then you have to know how,” he said. “Otherwise, things won’t happen.”

These are 10 of the logistics startup CEOs who have been most successful at raising the kind of funding that gives startups the runway to influence even millennia-old industries like logistics.

Arrive Logistics CEO Matt Pyatt

Total raised: $350 million 

Top investors: Temasek, Lead Edge Capital, The Baupost Group 

Arrive Logistics is a Texas freight brokerage that had a modest war chest until recently. In April, the company added a $300 million private-equity investment to its $50 million from three previous venture rounds. The massive influx paints a stark contrast to early 2020, when Arrive laid off or furloughed roughly 10% of its staff.

CEO Matt Pyatt spent just three years in trucking at Command Transportation before founding Arrive. He told FreightWaves the $300 million investment was a “long time coming” and should fuel the firm’s growth for the next five years.

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