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Watch: Freight startup Flexport hits $3.2 billion valuation after $1 billion investment by fund

PortandTerminal.com, February 22, 2019

Flexport announced a $1 billion funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund on Thursday, with existing investors all participating. The investment, an all-primary transaction (meaning early investors weren’t selling their shares), values the San Francisco-based company at $3.2 billion, according to a source with knowledge of its terms.

What does Flexport do?

A good way of understanding what Flexport does is to compare them with a traditional freight forwarder.

For every piece of international cargo, freight forwarders have to find a truck in both countries, book freight across the ocean, pass through customs on both sides of the ocean, store goods in warehouses, and then arrange final delivery. On top of that, forwarders have to secure competitive rates and clearly communicate that pricing to the end client to make sure it’s acceptable. For a traditional freight forwarder, all of that complex coordination is done using phones, emails, fax machines, and physical pieces of paper.

Flexport is replacing phones, emails, fax machines etc with software, not only automating away transaction costs but also improving the user experience for brands moving freight. They structure their customers’ supply chain data, reinforcing automation and information. This structure gives clients more visibility and control over their supply chain via Flexport’s online dashboard.

Flexport is one of those rare companies that will not merely satisfy its market, but grow it. There will be more international trade because of Flexport, and international trade is a very big thing for there to be more of.

Paul Graham, Y Combinator (Start-up Accelerator)

Flexport says that it has staked its claim in “on of the last major industries untouched by the Internet. It’s untouched because no one else has figured out how to coordinate the complexity involved”. Their investors seem to agree.

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