Unicorn Flexport is revolutionizing the world of logistics, serving as a freight forwarder with software program that permits prospects to handle their shipments. However there are nonetheless 1000’s of smaller freight forwarders, many working on outdated ERP software program or spreadsheets. A startup known as GoFreight needs to assist them compete by offering the “Shopify of freight forwarding,” with backend software program that makes their operations run extra easily, and a frontend that lets them arrange a storefront and supply quotes in a couple of minutes.
The Los Angeles and Taipei-based startup has raised $23 million in Collection A funding, co-led by Flex Capital and Headline. The spherical included participation from LFX Enterprise Companions, Palm Drive Capital and returning traders Mucker Capital, Cornerstone Ventures and Crimson Constructing Capital.
GoFreight, which at present has about 1,000 prospects, helps handle transportation of products by means of ocean, air and land routes. It additionally lets them arrange on-line storefronts with just a few clicks. Potential prospects can connect with freight forwarders by sending them an inquiry by means of storefront and getting a citation inside a couple of minutes, as an alternative of the 24 to 48 hours normally essential.
As soon as a freight forwarding job is underway, shipments may be tracked with an EDI-integrated, real-time software, so freight forwarders and prospects know precisely the place their cargo containers are. Monitoring software program additionally integrates with accounting instruments on GoFreight’s platform, so customers understand how the efficiency of shipments is impacting their earnings.
Co-founder and CEO Trenton Chen earned his Masters and PhD in the USA earlier than returning to Taiwan to hitch TSMC. At the moment, AppWorks and different startup packages had been getting a variety of consideration, and Chen determined he wished to turn into an entrepreneur. He left TSMC (“it was a troublesome choice, as a result of nobody agreed with that,” he advised TechCrunch), and gave himself six months to discover a viable thought. Throughout that point, certainly one of his co-founders was dwelling in Los Angeles, working as an importer for a household enterprise.
“After I was within the States, I knew lots of people on this business as nicely. So lots of our good buddies requested us to go there and see how unhealthy the software program is. So within the final month of my six month interval, I made a decision to provide it a possibility, purchased a ticket for 3 months to go to LA and spend time with the primary 10 freight forwarders, studying how they do enterprise with software program. We based GoFreight after the primary week we had been there,” Chen stated.
Regardless that Chen says the worldwide freight forwarding market is value about $280 billion {dollars}, virtually all of the software program it runs on is outdated. GoFreight’s aim is to empower conventional freight forwarders to remain aggressive with the identical high quality of expertise that Flexport has.
“A freight forwarding enterprise is about tips on how to ship cargo from level A to level B. Software program can actually assist, however that’s not their primary enterprise. The service itself is the principle enterprise and software program can not assist reduce the delivery prices or get it there quicker. However it could actually definitely assist present further worthwhile info to prospects, importers and exporters,” Chen stated, including, “We attempt to empower incumbents to compete with Flexport. That’s an method to make this complete business higher and quicker.”
Chen says GoFreight differentiates from different freight forwarding software program startups as a result of most of them are attempting to create new ERP system, or combine with present ones. That is difficult to do as a result of many freight forwarders use ERP programs which are outdated, and it’s a fragmented market. Some don’t even use ERP programs; as an alternative, they work off of spreadsheets or pen-and-paper programs.
On the backend, GoFreight’s software program has gross sales, working and accounting instruments, so when prospects have an inquiry, freight forwarders can enter it into their system after which come again with a citation. As soon as a job is confirmed, GoFreight manages bookings, real-time shipments and any essential digital filings. They will additionally generate and ship invoices by means of GoFreight.
“Very importantly, we’re attempting to turn into the Shopify of the area, so in one-click they will open a web-based retailer, and their importers can use the net internet portal to ship an inquiry and it simply pops up within the system, routinely with pricing and so they can guide their tickets on-line,” stated Chen. “So the entrance finish utility is so necessary and we offer visibility options as nicely.”
A significant problem that GoFreight needs to resolve is the method of producing quotes, which may take a pair days since freight forwarding orders are advanced. For instance, if a buyer needs to ship three containers from Shanghai to Los Angeles, freight forwarders must test with abroad brokers who’re additionally freight forwarders. In addition they want to rearrange trucking and warehouses. One other factor to contemplate is spot charges versus contract charges, since spot charges may be a lot decrease.
Most of this work is finished by means of emails, cellphone calls and textual content messages, however a centralized customer-facing app means freight forwarders can full your entire course of, together with checking with abroad brokers, by means of GoFreight’s integrations, which Chen says reduces the method from two days to about 10 or 20 seconds. GoFreight is at present working with companions to construct a community that connects prospects with freight forwarders, and freight forwarders with carriers.
GoFreight additionally supplies a digital cost resolution, since most funds had been performed by paper checks. This implies freight forwarders can situation a hyperlink to prospects, and as soon as they click on on that they’re taken to GoFreight’s web site, the place they will determine what invoices to pay with bank cards or financial institution accounts. Then that info goes again into GoFreight’s ERP system.
Analytics offered by GoFreight might help freight forwarders earn more money, Chen stated. For instance, in the event that they guide a 40-foot container, GoFreight will file how a lot they paid for it and the way a lot prospects had been charged. The system analyzes efficiency for high prospects and abroad brokers, uncovering hidden charges so freight forwarders have a greater understanding of the actual value of a cargo. It additionally breaks down prices per SKU, so freight forwarders and their prospects know precisely how a lot it value to ship an merchandise.
The brand new funding might be used to develop extra options like good quotations, fee administration and buy order administration.
In an announcement concerning the funding, Headline companion Tom Gieselmann stated, “GoFreight’s all-in-one software program supplies better transparency to freight motion, permitting freight forwarders to raised handle their enterprise, which may vary anyplace from 0-1500+ customers, end-to-end. This versatility makes the product extremely impactful, and a giant cause behind why we’ve recognized them as some of the promising logistics tech corporations available on the market.”

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