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Flexport's Latest Funding Round Values Digital Forwarder at $8 Billion

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File image courtesy Port of Long Beach

Published Feb 7, 2022 11:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

In 2013, digital freight-forwarding company Flexport set out to build a service that would solve supply chain challenges through technology. With supply chain challenges now in abundance, its business is booming, and it just raised a Series E funding round valuing the company at $8 billion - more than doubling its valuation in three years.

The round, led by Andreessen Horowitz and MSD Partners, raised $935 million with participation from Shopify, SoftBank, Founders Fund and DST Global. Flexport has attracted investor interest with its popularity among shippers: it more than doubled its revenue in 2021, bringing in $3.2 billion in sales. 

"The global pandemic and the pressure it put on supply chains made the transportation of goods - something we took for granted - a daily pain point. This investment signals that the market recognizes the need for a tech-enabled logistics ecosystem with the visibility and resilience to handle unexpected challenges of any scale," said Petersen. "This investment signals that the market recognizes the need for a tech-enabled logistics ecosystem that has the visibility and resilience to handle unexpected challenges of any scale."

Like any forwarder, Flexport sells the transportation of cargo, but its primary product is a digital platform that interfaces with its customers and stakeholders. Its technology is designed to speed up and automate the process of tracking and managing shipments, down to the level of each individual unit of product. It generates ETA forecasts and sends alerts if there is a delay in shipping, giving the shipper advanced warning without requiring them to send an email or pick up the phone. Since many traditional forwarders still manage operations with manual processes, an automated tracking service is a change for many shippers. 

"At Shopify, we see first-hand the challenges millions of entrepreneurs face when running their businesses, with logistics being one of the most daunting complexities in commerce today," said Bram Sugarman, Director of Product Acceleration at Shopify, in a statement announcing the funding round. "We are so inspired by the progress Flexport has made in this critical area and are excited to support them in their ambitious mission to modernize the supply chain, breaking down barriers to trade for businesses everywhere."