Freight technology company Loadsmart plans to rapidly expand its technology offerings that connect shippers, carriers, brokers, and warehouses to increase logistics efficiency thanks to a $200 million venture capital round announced on Tuesday.
The “series D” financing was led by SoftBank Latin America Fund, with participation from returning investors like funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, rail transportation supplier CSX Corp., and global active asset manager Janus Henderson Group. The deal values the company at $1.3 billion, pushing it over the billion-dollar “unicorn” threshold for startups.
The backing comes at a time when the logistics industry is ripe for improvements in performance and efficiency, according to Loadsmart co-founder and co-CEO Ricardo Salgado. That process would follow the path of “traditional industries” such as banking, travel, healthcare, and education, that have already seen similar digital transformations, he said.
“The logistics industry is ripe for similar transformation, as it remains heavily reliant on analog systems and processes that create fragmentation and prohibit collaboration. The future of the supply chain and logistics industry rely on digitization and automation where Loadsmart is leading the way,” Salgado said.
The New York-based firm’s core technology is digital freight matching technology that it says improves transparency in freight pricing, booking, and shipping. Since its initial focus on truckload services, Loadsmart has expanded beyond full truckload (FTL) shipments to other modes that include less than truckload (LTL), partial truckload, and rail. The firm now also offers software solutions, such as freight procurement software (RFP Guide), a trucking ERP system (Kamion), and a standalone dock appointment solution for warehouses (OpenDock).
According to investor CSX, that multi-layered approach could achieve improvements in many levels of logistics operations. “CSX is continually developing innovative solutions for further reducing emissions by converting freight from highway to rail,” Kevin Boone, CSX’s executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, said in a release. “As an environmental leader in an industry that plays an important strategic role in the low-carbon economy, CSX is excited for the opportunity to invest in a company like Loadsmart that is creating a more sustainable supply chain by eliminating empty miles and offering multimodal solutions to shippers that generate substantial value for customers.”
The latest fundraising round follows past investments from big names in the industry such as the investment arm of shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk and platform integrations with supply chain technology firms including software vendor Blue Yonder.
We have closed a $200M round of Series D financing at $1.3B valuation, more than 3 times our Series C valuation! Excited to build on this milestone with our Series D investors SoftBank Group International Latin America Fund, BlackRock, CSX, & Janus Henderson Group PLC! pic.twitter.com/2kJ87u0xwa— Loadsmart (@LoadsmartUS) February 2, 2022