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31 hot logistics startups that are set to soar in 2020, according to VCs

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  • Logistics is changing quickly.
  • And, along with big players, a host of startups is overtaking the $1.6 trillion industry.
  • We asked leading venture capitalists who specialize in logistics which startups are likely to explode in 2020. Here’s who they shared.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The $1.6 trillion logistics industry is undergoing a massive transformation, and big names like Uber, Amazon, Walmart, C.H. Robinson, and more are at the forefront of that change. 

But so are a host of big and small startups.

Business Insider asked six of the industry’s buzziest venture capitalists which startups they believe are going to capitalize big time in 2020. One preferred to remain anonymous, but five others were OK with attaching their names to their recommendations:

  • Mike Zayonc, founder of Plug and Play Supply Chain in Sunnyvale, California
  • Julian Counihan, general partner at Schematic Ventures in San Francisco
  • Rick Zullo, general partner at Equal Ventures in New York City
  • Santosh Sankar, partner at Dynamo Ventures in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Ankit Agarwal, managing director at Greenhawk Capital in New York City

We asked them to highlight the coolest startups in their profile, as well as ones they didn’t invest in but are forecasting big things for. The investors were also asked to highlight companies just getting their first seed funding or Series A bucks, as well as bigger names. 

Here’s which names they picked, plus additional information on each company from Pitchbook:

Flexe

Flexe employs 130 people.

Courtesy of Flexe


What it is: Flexe provides fulfillment, retail distribution, and warehousing space on demand through an online marketplace. This allows retailers to quickly access affordable warehousing. 

Founded: 2013 by Francis Duong, Edmond Yue, and Karl Siebrecht

Investors: Madrona Venture Group, Prologis, Tiger Global Management, Activate Capital Partners, Redpoint Ventures

Total funding raised: $63.5 million

Recommended by: An anonymous VC who has invested

Shipium

Shipium’s founders, Jason Murray and Mac Brown.

Courtesy of Shipium


What it is: Shipium aims to provide two-day fulfillment for all e-commerce and direct-to-consumer brands by connecting them with the right data and supply chain optimization tools. 

Founded: 2019 by Jason Murray and Mac Brown

Investor: Pioneer Square Labs

Total funding raised: $2 million

Recommended by: An anonymous VC who has not invested

Parade



Tara Moore/Getty


What it is: Parade’s freight workflow platform is designed for transportation professionals to manage relationships, analyze capacity, and automate load bookings.

Founded: 2015 by Anthony Sutardja, Tony Wu, and Preet Sivia

Investors: Arena Ventures, Base Ventures, Estopia, Leopold Lake, Tank Hill Ventures

Total funding raised: Undisclosed

Recommended by: Zullo of Equal, who is not an investor

Flexport

Flexport’s warehouse in Shenzhen, China. The company says its platform saves customers 2.5 hours a week, on average.

Courtesy of Flexport


What it is: Flexport is a freight forwarding platform that gives shippers visibility and control over their products’ movements as it’s carried through ocean, air, and road freighters. 

Founded: 2013 by Ryan Petersen

Investors: Softbank, G Squared, Alexis Ohanian, Y Combinator, 8VC

Total funding raised: $1.3 billion

Recommended by: Zayonc of Plug and Play, who did not invest

Ready Robotics

Ready recently relocated from Baltimore to Columbus, Ohio, where it employs 50.

Courtesy of Ready Robotics


What it is: Ready Robotics provides robotics-as-a-service, allowing manufacturers to lease robots from a few days to as long as a year.

Founded: 2016 by Benjamin Gibbs and Kelleher Guerin

Investors: Sagamore Ventures, RRE Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, Drive Capital

Total funding raised: $18.76 million

Recommended by: Agarwal of Greenhawk, who is an investor

Emerge

Emerge founder Andrew Leto also established GlobalTranz in 2003.

David Zalubowski/AP


What it is: Emerge develops a web-based transportation-management platform TMS that helps professionals handle freight quotes, communications, and tracking and access other key tools. 

Founded: 2017 by Andrew Leto

Investors: Greycroft

Total funding raised: $22.5 million

Recommended by: Sankar of Dynamo and Zullo of Equal. Both are not investors. 

Leaf Logistics



Daniel Becerril/Reuters


What it is: Leaf Logistics addresses the widespread issue in logistics of nonenforceable contracts. Its digital trading platform is designed to execute enforceable contracts with trading rules and insights into future rates and other predictability tools. 

Founded: 2017 by Anshu Prasad and Stefan Friederichs

Investors: Playground Global, Schematic Ventures, Dynamo Ventures, FJ Labs, Floodgate Fund, Supply Chain Ventures

Total funding raised: $21.2 million

Recommended by: Agarwal of Greenhawk and Zullo of Equal. Neither are investors.

FourKites

Based in Chicago, FourKites employs more than 500.

Courtesy of FourKites


What it is: FourKites is a predictive supply chain platform that provides real-time freight visibility to shippers, carriers, brokers and logistics providers.

Founded: 2013 by Matt Elenjickal 

Investors: Bain Capital Ventures, August Capital, CEAS Investments, Hyde Park Angels and Hyde Park Venture Partners.

Total funding raised: $100.5 million

Recommended by: Agarwal of Greenhawk, who is not an investor

Cogniac

There are 140,000 miles of rail track in the US.

Associated Press


What it is: Cogniac is a computer vision platform that aims to automate visual tasks. 

Founded: 2015 by Amy Wang and Bill Kish

Investors: Plug and Play, Autotech Ventures, Gradient Ventures

Total funding raised: $10.1 million

Recommended by: Zayonc of Plug and Play, who has invested

Fabric

New York-based Fabric employs 150.

Courtesy of Fabric


What it is: Fabric develops on-demand fulfillment technology to help retailers expedite urban deliveries. Technologies like this, Counihan says, could slash the square footage needed for fulfillment centers, reducing overall costs.

Founded: 2015 by Elram Goren, Eyal Gorenand, Ori Avraham, and Shay Cohen

Investors: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Corner Ventures, Temasek Holdings, Playground Global, Aleph, Innovation Endeavors, Microsoft ScaleUp

Total funding raised:$136 million

Recommended by: Counihan of Schematic, who is not an investor

STORD

STORD is dedicated to increasing the utilization of warehouses.

Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images


What it is: STORD is a digital warehousing network that allows brands to gain visibility into inventory. It is dedicated to increasing flexibility and dynamism in warehousing — increasing its overall utilization. 

Founded: 2015 by Sean Henry and Jacob Boudreau

Investors: Kleiner Perkins, Thomas Noonan, Engage VC, Revolution, Tech Square Venture Partners

Total funding raised: $14.96 million

Recommended by: Sankar of Dynamo, who is an investor

Gatik



Courtesy of Gatik


What it is: Gatik develops autonomous vehicles for “short-haul logistics.” Its biggest partnership is with Walmart, for whom the company enables grocery pick-up for Walmart customers from its autonomous van. 

Founded: 2017 by Apeksha Kumavat, Gautam Narang, and Arjun Narang

Investors: Uber Freight head Lior Ron, Angel Pad, Fontinalis Partners, Trucks VC, Innovation Endeavors, Dynamo Ventures

Total funding raised: $4.62 million

Recommended by: Sankar of Dynamo, who is an investor

Deliverr

Deliverr cofounder Michael Krakaris.

Courtesy of Deliverr


What it is: Deliverr uses machine learning and predictive intelligence to help retailers determine which of its warehouses to store their products.  

Founded: 2017 by Michael Krakaris and Harish Abbott

Investors: 9Yards Capital, GLP, 8VC, Activant Capital, DHVC, Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen

Total funding raised: $70.1 million

Recommended by: An anonymous VC and Sankar of Dynamo, both of whom have not invested

Platform Science

San Diego-based Platform Science employs 120.

Courtesy of Platform Science


What it is: Platform Science is a developer of fleet management system that is dedicated to streamlining transportation.

Founded: 2014 by John Kennedy III, Jake Fields, and Michael Bray

Investors: Plug and Play, NewRoad Capital Partners, Schematic Ventures, Prologis, 8VC

Total funding raised: $28.7 million

Recommended by: Zullo of Equal, who is not an investor

Shoof

Based in Silicon Valley, Shoof employs 17.

Courtesy of Shoof


What it is: Shoof’s technology connects the cloud with physical assets as part of the growing industrial IoT market. 

Founded: 2016 by Elad Gottlib and George Flammer

Investors: Plug and Play, Kleiner Perkins, Mistletoe, NTT Docomo Ventures, Abies Ventures

Total funding raised: $4.3 million

Recommended by: Zayonc of Plug and Play, who has invested

RoadSync

RoadSync’s product. The company is based in Atlanta.

Courtesy of RoadSync


What it is: RoadSync is an electronic payment platform that facilitates lumper fees and other payments encountered by truck drivers. Lumpers are folks who load or unload trucks, and paying them can be a headache for truck drivers and shippers alike. 

Founded: 2015 by Spencer Barkoff, Benjamin Langer, Ryan Droege, and Akmann Van-Mary

Investors: Bain Capital Ventures, Base10 Partners, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Flashpoint

Total funding raised: $2.5 million

Recommended by: Zullo of Equal, who is not an investor

Loadsmart

New York City-based Loadsmart employs 200.

Courtesy of Loadsmart


What it is: Loadsmart is a digital freight brokerage that’s partnered with companies like Maersk, Daimler, Oracle, and Coca-Cola.  

Founded: 2014 by Ricardo Salgado and Felipe Capella

Investors: Maersk Growth, Ports America, Chromo Invest, Connor Capital, The Strand Partners

Total funding raised: $54.2 million

Recommended by: Sankar of Dynamo, who is not an investor

Rappi

The logo of Colombian on-demand delivery company Rappi is seen on a delivery bag in Mexico City.

Reuters


What it is: Rappi is a Bogota, Colombia-based delivery platform designed to connect customers and local stores — offering services like food delivery to even withdrawing money from an ATM. 

Founded: 2015 by Felipe Villamarin, Sebastián Mejía, and Simón Borrero

Investors: Softbank, Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator

Total funding raised: $1.46 billion

Recommended by: Zayonc of Plug and Play, who did not invest

SVT Robotics

SVT Robotics is based in Norfolk, Virginia.

Courtesy of SVT Robotics


What it is: SVT Robotics, still in its seed funding, develops warehouse automation software to allow clients to ease the adoption of robotic technologies. 

Founded: 2018 by A.K. Schultz and Michael Howes

Investors: Dynamo, Schematic, 757 Accelerate

Total funding raised: $600,000

Recommended by: Sankar of Dynamo, who is an investor

Convoy

Convoy was recently valued at $2.75 billion after Al Gore’s eco-focused fund invested in November.

Courtesy of Convoy


What it is: Convoy is a digital-freight network that connects shippers and carriers. 

Founded: 2015 by Dan Lewis and Grant Goodale

Investors: Generation Investment Management, CapitalG, Y Combinator, Bezos Expeditions, Greylock Partners, Marc Benioff, Reid Hoffman

Total funding raised:$668 million

Recommended by: An anonymous VC who has not invested

HDVI

HDVI’s insurance is provided by Hudson Insurance Group.

Reuters


What it is: HDVI provides partners “next-generation truck insurance.” 

Founded: 2017 by Reid Spitz and Chuck Wallace

Investors: 8VC, Autotech Ventures, Lightbank, Sinai Ventures

Total funding raised: Undisclosed

Recommended by: Zullo of Equal, who is an investor

RPA Labs

Founders Suraj Menon and Matt Motsick. Motsick previously co-founded Catapult International, a freight management software, while Menon combines his logistics tech experience with his past as one of PayPal’s original developers.

Courtesy of RPA Labs


What it is: RPA Labs looks to automate repetitive work in the logistics space, like customer interactions, data entry, documentation, and other tasks. 

Founded: 2019 by Suraj Menon and Matt Motsick

Investors: Self-funded, Schematic

Total funding raised: Pre-seed

Recommended by: Counihan of Schematic, who is an investor

Plus One Robotics

Plus One Robotics employs 30 and is based in San Antonio, Texas.

Getty Images/Matt Cardy


What it is: Plus One Robotics produces enterprise-grade, articulated robots for distribution centers. Counihan said the company expects triple-digit robot sales this quarter alone, and is dominating the robot arms install base category. 

Founded: 2016 by Erik Nieves, Shaun Edwards, and Paul Hvass

Investors: Pritzker Group Venture Capital, First Star Ventures, T Fund, Zebra Technologies, ff Venture Capital, Dynamo Ventures

Total funding raised: $10.65 million

Recommended by: Counihan of Schematic, who is an investor

CognitOps

Based in Austin, CognitOps employs 7.

Courtesy of CognitOps


What it is: CognitOps is the developer of a facility-optimization platform. Counihan believes the team’s product will “set the standard for warehouse software architecture going forward.”  

Founded: 2018 by Alex Ramirez and Reas Macken

Investors: Schematic Ventures

Total funding raised: $1 million

Recommended by: Counihan of Schematic, who is an investor

Project44

Project44 counts Amazon, Uber, UPS, and other logistics leaders as customers.

Courtesy of Project44


What it is: Project44 is designed to digitize and provide visibility into each part of the shipment life-cycle, providing insight on pricing, routing, tracking, payments, and the like. 

Founded: 2014 by Jett McCandless

Investors: 8VC, SXSW Accelerator, OpenView Venture Partners, Emergence Capital Partners, Sapphire Ventures

Total funding raised: $110.5 million

Recommended by: Sankar of Dynamo, Zullo of Equal, and Agarwal of Greenhawk. None are investors.  

Skupos

Skupos has 150 employees.

Courtesy of Skupos


What it is: Skupos’ inventory-management system is address to convert manual processes into data-driven workflows. This allows retailers to understand from a quantitative perspective which products are selling well, and quickly generate re-orders. 

Founded: 2016 by Jake Bolling, Michael Glassman, and Linh Nguyen

Investors: Unilevel Ventures, Loup Ventures, BayAngels, Toba Capital, Dynamo Ventures

Total funding raised:$34.84 million

Recommended by: Sankar of Dynamo, who is an investor

Exotec

Exotec is based in Lille, France, and employs 120.

Courtesy of Exotec


What it is: Exotec develops order preparation systems to streamline order assembling and dispatching. Technologies like this, Counihan says, could accelerate same-day and urban deliveries. 

Founded: 2015 by Romain Moulin and Renaud Heitz

Investors: Iris Capital, 360 Capital Partners, Breega Capital, and Telecom Paristech

Total funding raised: $22.16 million

Recommended by: Counihan of Schematic, who is not an investor

Attabotics

Calgary, Canada-based Attabotics employs more than 200.

Courtesy of Attabotics


What it is: Attabotics’ product condenses the aisles and rows of a typical warehouse, saving some 85% of the space. The company counts Nordstrom as a customer and Microsoft as a partner. 

Founded: 2015 by Scott Gravelle, Rob Cowley, and Tony Woolf

Investors: Forerunner Ventures, Western Innovation, Comcast Ventures, Honeywell Ventures

Total funding raised:$32.7 million

Recommended by: Counihan of Schematic, who is not an investor

Arrive Logistics

Arrive Logistics is based in Austin, Texas, where it employs more than 800.

Courtesy of Arrive Logistics


What it is: Arrive Logistics is a freight brokerage that’s designed to deliver transportation-management services. It emphasizes collaboration between shippers and carriers. 

Founded: 2014 by Matt Pyatt and Eric Dunigan

Investors: Lead Edge Capital and Seed Sumo

Total funding raised: $35.05 million

Recommended by: Zullo of Equal, who is not an investor

Idelic

Pittsburgh-based Idelic employs 41.

Courtesy of Idelic


What it is:Spun out of LTL giant Pitt Ohio, Idelic’s driver management platform uses machine learning and other leverages to allow safety managers to understand their drivers’ accident risk, turnover risk, and other key analytic insights, as well as automate certain compliance processes. 

Founded: 2016 by Hayden Cardiff and Nick Bartel

Investors: Bain Capital Ventures, SaaS Ventures, Plug and Play, M25, Carbon Ventures

Total funding raised: $11.53 million

Recommended by: Zullo of Equal, who is not an investor

Voyager

Voyager employees eight in Houston, Texas. The management team has more than 60 years of experience across maritime, technology, and commodities.

Courtesy of Voyager


What it is: Voyager’s workflow software is aimed at eliminating waste and increasing transparency across the marine supply chain. 

Founded: 2018 by Matthew Costello and Bret Smart

Investors: ATX Venture Partners, Blue Bear Capital, Sparklabs, Techstars Energy Accelerator

Total funding raised: $1.62 million

Recommended by: Agarwal of Greenhawk, who is an investor

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