Freight forwarding firm Flexport raises nearly $1 billion in funding, adds Shopify, Michael Dell as investors – CNBC

Flexport CEO, Ryan Petersen

Source: Flexport

Flexport said Monday it raised $935 million in a Series E funding round that values the freight forwarding company at $8 billion — nearly triple its last reported valuation in 2019, according to PitchBook data. The San Francisco-based company, ranked No. 41 on last year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, has now raised nearly $2.3 billion to date.

Its latest funding round is being led by Andreessen Horowitz and Michael Dell’s MSD Partners, and includes a strategic investment from Shopify. Existing investors including DST Global, Founders Fund, SoftBank’s Vision Fund I and former Greylock VC Kevin Kwok also participated in the round.

Freight is a trillion-dollar industry that’s failed to move with the speed of the 21st century, long reliant on ledgers, email and (even) phone calls to communicate. Numerous challenges — from congestion at ports to shortages of shipping containers — have arisen throughout the pandemic, leading to higher costs and delays, and magnifying how critical the often-taken-for-granted logistics industry is more broadly.

Flexport’s ocean, air, truck and rail freight forwarding and brokerage services move legacy approaches to shipping and customs management to where all business is moving today: the cloud. Its data platform can analyze costs, container efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, a rising priority for companies in the logistics space, and for their corporate clients, who are all now seeking to lower their carbon footprint throughout the business value chain.

In the past year, founder and CEO Ryan Petersen has focused on questions like how much PPE could fit in a passenger plane — the company moved tens of millions of masks around the world during Covid outbreaks.

“The global pandemic and the pressure it put on global supply chains has made the transportation of goods — something many people took for granted — a daily pain point,” Petersen said in a statement announcing the deal. “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.”

Flexport has more than 10,000 clients and suppliers in 112 countries and reportedly doubled its revenue last year. With fresh financing, the company says it plans to begin expanding into new markets and accelerate the development of its technology.

CNBC has extended the deadline to submit nominations for the 2022 Disruptor 50 list, our annual look at private innovators using breakthrough technology to transform industries and become the next generation of great public companies. Submit your nomination by Friday, Feb. 11, at 3 pm Eastern time.

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