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500 Southeast Asia

Durians Daily #113: Small forwarders are beating large companies amidst the pandemic, says Cargobase founder; New abillionveg report shows conscious consumption is on the rise; Upcoming 2-part workshop on inclusivity and how startups are recovering from Covid-19

The tides are turning

  • Competition in the airfreight industry is fierce and it seems small forwarders are surpassing their much larger counterparts.
  • This is based on insights from 500-backed Cargobase’s CEO and founder Wiebe Helde. He revealed that top 25 forwarders are only winning 30% of the ad hoc airfreight business they bid for on the platform, down from 53% in Q1.
  • “The lack of automated quoting with the top forwarders is costing them heavily and, in consequence, benefiting the smaller players. As a result, we are seeing increased efforts from the top 25 to connect to their quoting engines,” Wiebe said.
Credit: Cargobase
  • The flexibility of micro forwarders allows them to adapt and integrate with external systems better, which is a plus-point in today’s evolving shipping landscape.
  • “Most of the top 25’s automation is focused on pre-agreed business, or with their own customer-facing platforms,” he added.
  • Spot-buy airfreight is surging as of late. Cargobase recorded growth in transaction volume by 240% while revenue has risen 273% from a year earlier — by far the highest on record since incepting seven years ago, according to the company.

A worldwide shift

  • Having amassed nearly 400,000 reviews, 500-backed abillionveg sought to understand the sentiment on the ground through its latest report, “The Era Of The Conscious Consumer”.
  • And it has found that consumers are not only becoming more selective of the establishments they frequent, but also discerning of the values those businesses uphold.
  • Putting those observations in numbers, 73% of global consumers are likely to change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment, and 57% of them would boycott a brand that doesn’t share their social and ethical values.
Credit: abillionveg
  • Consumers in Singapore and Argentine are most vocal among the countries abiillionveg surveyed. More than half of Singapore consumers feel strongly about the role of businesses in preventing harm to the environment. Meanwhile, 80% of them are willing to pay higher prices for socially conscious products.
  • Breaking down the requests made directly to companies from users, abillionveg revealed that more than 60% and 40% of consumers’ feedback called for more vegan options for dishes and products respectively. For products, packaging (21%) and product attributes (29%) are also important.
  • The report (check it out here) provides an interesting overview of the current state of conscious living and based on data, it’s certainly trending upwards.

The inside scoop

  • 500 Startups and ABD Ventures are launching a two-part workshop, as part of the Asian Development Bank’s Southeast Asia Development Symposium (SEADS).
  • Based on the official website, SEADS’ main objective is “to help crystallize thinking on relevant and critical issues, and support countries in successfully making the transition to becoming high-income, knowledge-based, and, most importantly, sustainable economies.”
  • Hosted by Ee Ling Lim, Singapore Country Head of Innovation & Partnerships at 500 Startups, the workshop will have Francesca Chia, founder and CEO of 500-backed GoGet, and 500-backed Gnowbe’s co-founder and CEO, So-Young Kang as guests.
Credit: ABD Ventures/500 Startups
  • Part one will feature conversations between the three on the challenges faced by female founders, and a rapid ideation session on building inclusive ecosystems and companies.
  • Part two takes a deep dive into the startups and investment landscape post-pandemic, and the strategies founders have adopted to build resilient and future-proof companies.
  • The “Startups and The Post-COVID Recovery” workshop is happening tomorrow! There’s still time to secure yourself a seat — register here.

Missed out the last Durians Daily? Go here to check it out.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Durians family of funds. The 500 Durians funds have backed over 200 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.



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500 Southeast Asia

500 Southeast Asia

500 Southeast Asia is an early-stage VC firm; The company has backed over 250 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology.