The story behind the quickest investment we ever made: Fretlink

Louisa Mesnard
Apr 29 · 3 min read

Fretlink just announced a major round of investment of €25m so we figured now was a good time to flashback on why we believe in this awesome company!

Closing the Series A in April 2017

🚚 Looking for a player disrupting the shipping market

Back in March 2017, we had been looking at the trucking industry for a while because of its European market of €300bn where France alone represents almost 15%! Who doesn’t love these kind of humongous markets that haven’t been disrupted (yet)? We knew we wanted to invest in a game changing and ambitious player within this market.

We had been chatting with a couple of actors of the sector and had identified Fretlink, who had just launched their platform a couple of months earlier. Because of our mutual agendas, the meeting with Paul had been set up for a long time.

Before the meeting, Paul wrote to say: “I have to be honest, I already have a term sheet”. Both the Elaia team and Paul agreed on maintaining the meeting out of courtesy — and good thing they did!

We were super impressed by the expertise developed by Paul and his team. He was clever to cofound Fretlink with experts that would then be able to leverage their supply chain network. Their comprehensive knowledge of the market and its challenges meant they were able to answer any question we may have! Paul adds: “I could clearly see that the Elaia team knew the sector and its challenges perfectly!”

🚚 Love at first sight

The meeting ended up lasting twice as long as planned and both Samantha & Marc from the Elaia team agreed on the amazing human fit. At Elaia, we love ambitious entrepreneurs and to say the least, Paul Guillemin is one of them!

We were convinced that this was the team that would disrupt the shipping market (let’s not forget: a massive European market of €300bn) by easily connecting shippers to trucking companies. On Elaia’s doorstep, Paul decided to allow Elaia in (he already had a term sheet remember!) and raise a bit more than planned.

We have rarely gone through such a rapid investment process! We adapted to the situation by doing the in depth analysis, the reference calls and setting up an investment committee within a week — the same way the startups we invest in do. When we already know a sector, we can be very quick at taking the decision to invest and even more so when we are talking about major disruptions or big tech verticals (which we love!)

🚚 Growing from 10 to 80 people

Following this investment, Fretlink grew from 10 people (April 2017) up to 80 people today with a mix of supply chain experts and startupers! Today, the company works with over 400 clients such as P&G, Colas, Unilever or Casino by connecting them to 5,000 regional transporters. The company grown very fast and has seen its turnover x10 within a year (from €1,4M in 2017 to €15M in 2018).

Samantha, partner at Elaia adds: “this investment is a turning point: Fretlink is entering a new phase of growth to build a new standard in organizing road freight transportation. We are delighted to be part of this adventure and to continue supporting the team by participating in this new round.”

🚚 To infinity and beyond

Today, the company raises €25M in Series B to become the European leader and plans to reach 150 to 200 million euros of annualized turnover by the end of 2020. Fretlink already operates in 22 European countries since 2018, but wants to get closer to their key clients and carriers throughout Europe by opening 3 new European offices in 2019 in Germany, Belgium and Poland. Fretlink is also looking to hire 100 people by the end of 2020 so keep posted as several job listings for key positions will be posted in the next few weeks.

🙏 If you liked this article, feel free to clap, follow Elaia and share it! 🙏


• Backing tech disrupters •

Louisa Mesnard

Written by

Head of Marketing & Communication at @elaia • @StartHer • Globe Trotter @_WProject_ •@TextFugees • Teacher @ESSCA_Ecole



• Backing tech disrupters •

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