Written by Marina Hadjipateras
Global freight forwarding — facilitating the movement of cargo from one point to another — is a $200B industry, with 300,000+ freight forwarders working around the world. And yet it has lagged years behind other sectors in efforts to digitize and automate processes. Pricing is inefficient, data is fragmented and freight forwarders spend costly time making multiple calls, assembling data points, navigating customs clearances, building relationships and securing customers — all tracked on pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets without the support of a digital platform, or for that matter, any holistic solution.
Enter TMV’s newest investment, Freightify, a SaaS platform empowering freight forwarders with all-in-one technology that allows them to procure, manage and quote real-time freight prices almost instantly, track and trace container shipments, and build a white labeled storefront that gives them a consistent online presence for growing their customer base.
Says Founder and CEO Raghavendran (Raghav) Viswanathan: “For too long, freight forwarders have been restricted to spreadsheets and legacy processes to do business. We set up Freightify to remove the heavy lifting of manually procuring and managing rates, providing quotations, accepting email and phone bookings, managing documentation and coordinating and tracking shipments.”
Raghav, born in India’s port city of Chennai, (now known as the SaaS capital of India), started his career building tech for the banking industry, working on transitioning legacy systems into digital solutions.
After completing his MBA in Mumbai, he was invited to join DHL’s leadership training program, an initiative designed to equip future leaders with comprehensive knowledge of each key role in the organization. He gained tremendous insight through DHL’s program, and took on a role selling container spaces for large shipping companies.
Raghav was struck by the similarities he observed between the legacy banking industry he had worked to transform, and the outdated freight forwarding industry that desperately needed a similar and seismic shift. In 2016, while still in Mumbai, he built a digital marketplace for suppliers to sell container spaces, which could be used by any freight forwarder seeking to move shipments.
Then, the pandemic swept in, global trade came to a standstill, and Raghav and the team identified an opportunity: rather than wait out the crisis and operate the marketplace when the world recovered, they could move forward with a SaaS model to enable the freight forwarding industry at large. He chose the latter, and from there, Freightify was off to the races.
Freightify’s solution allows freight forwarders to procure, manage and quote freight prices in under two minutes. Over 200 freight forwarding companies across 45 countries use Freightify to digitize their business, and have consistently reported reductions in processing time by more than 70%, in addition to an approximate 50% decrease in operational costs. Customers who set up their storefront on Freightify have seen an increase in win ratio by more than 20% and a formidable boost in retained business.
Over the past twelve months, Freightify tripled their revenue, and recently secured an additional $12M in Series A funding, led by Sequoia with participation from TMV and Alteria Capital.
What gets us at TMV excited about Freightify is that they provide access to resources typically reserved for large-scale workforces. Freightify’s white-label rate management and booking tools enable small and mid-size freight forwarders to establish their online presence and grow. This is a step forward in transforming the antiquated logistics industry, and creates more access and visibility to a healthier supply chain.
Freightify currently serves 200+ customers in 45+ countries and does a gross merchandise volume (GMV) of over $2 billion. While there are a number of existing companies seeking to become the Amazon of freight forwarding services, Freightify’s vision goes farther, enabling freight forwarders themselves to manage and create their own communities and streamline their businesses, in turn helping to democratize global trade. Now, with a team of 200+ logistics experts across the world and a fresh round of capital, Freightify will look to expand rapidly across Europe, Australia and key regions in Asia, while continuing expansion in North America.
We asked Raghav what advice he’d offer fellow founders. Here’s what he had to say:
“Hang in there. Be patient. Keep it simple, and fight another day.” Wise words.
Learn more about Freightify and how they are transforming the freight forwarding industry.
TMV is an early-stage venture firm that invests in purposeful startups reimagining the future.
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