The Future of Tech-Enabled Freight Shipping: Fifth Wall-backed Shipwell Announces Series A

The End-to-End Digitization of Freight Shipping Will Streamline, Modernize, and Improve How We Ship and Receive

Despite being a $900 billion industry in the U.S., the over-the-road freight industry remains almost wholly unchanged since the advent of trucking in the mid-1900s. The space is ripe for new, tech-enabled freight shipping and brokerage solutions creating seamless experiences for both shippers and recipients. Although various niche aspects of the industry have been addressed, Shipwell has emerged with the first end-to end solution accounting for every stage in the freight shipping chain. Shipwell has the trifecta needed to become the category king in the crowded space of tech-enabled freight logistics — the right team and the right strategy at the right time.

Fifth Wall is excited to announce it’s leading Shipwell’s Series A round to continue streamlining and modernizing the freight brokerage industry. With this investment, Fifth Wall principal Vik Chawla will also join Shipwell’s Board of Directors. Other global investors participating in the round include First Round Capital, Base 10 Ventures, Capital Factory and Village Global. Founded in 2016, this investment round brings Shipwell’s total funding to date to $12.1 million.

While the outlook for the American economy is bright, underpinning its growth are outdated services organizing a national network of trucks zig-zagging America’s highways and delivering billions of dollars of goods every day to customers and businesses. Shipwell saw a better way. At its core, Shipwell combines transactional shipping with a SaaS platform to connect freight carriers with brokers and shippers. It provides real-time quotes as well as shipping management and tracking capabilities so businesses and their customers get faster shipping, better visibility, and competitive prices.

Where is the link with Fifth Wall? Shipwell’s full-service, digitized brokerage platform can streamline the way many of our strategic real estate Anchor LPs and portfolio companies approach large-scale freight shipping.

There is great potential for relationships in the industrial space for our Anchors. In addition to the obvious use case for Shipwell customers who own warehousing, landlords can use Shipwell to become effective facilitators for their tenants. Some Anchor LPs are already engaged in this shipping ecosystem on behalf of their tenants, while others act as transport hubs. Beyond these, however, there are easy tie-ins within a number of key categories of Fifth Wall Anchors that regularly ship or receive freight — developers, of course, but also our retail, office, and homebuilding partners.

There are also natural synergies between Fifth Wall portfolio companies and Shipwell. For startups developing increasingly expansive e-commerce businesses across the U.S., Shipwell can build out parts of its product to address the needs and major pain-points of fellow portfolio companies. With the size of the national freight shipping industry continually increasing, there are countless opportunities for integration of Shipwell’s logistics and freight brokerage services with our growing number of portfolio companies.

Ready integration with our strategic Anchors and portfolio companies is just one of the key areas dictating Fifth Wall’s interest in a startup. There is also the trifecta of a perfect opportunity, when a startup enters a category at the right time, with the right strategy, and with the right team.

A staggering 80% of all physical goods in the U.S. are on the back of a truck at some point, but the process of quoting, booking, and tracking those trucks is still incredibly manual. Undeveloped and backward technology in a laggard, multi-billion dollar industry has created a vortex of incredible potential. Shipwell’s easy-to-use online platform — already shipping for everyone from Fortune 100 companies, like Shell and Samsung, to technology startups like Lumi — comes at a time when e-commerce shows massive year-over-year growth and businesses need a way to ship freight as effectively as sophisticated companies like Amazon.

Given the state of the market, Shipwell has taken a smart approach to the the freight brokerage landscape. While new entrants are actively seeking to disintermediate brokers from the freight ecosystem, carriers, shippers, and brokers all benefit from use of Shipwell’s platform. Shipwell links into the API of over 500,000 freight carriers across the U.S., allowing freight brokers, carriers, and shippers (i.e. retailers, wholesalers, etc.) the ability to quote, book, dispatch, remit payment, and send invoices in real-time through the cloud. By acting as a friend and end-to-end “breath of fresh air” for the entire existing market, Shipwell is poised for positive disruption of the tech-enabled freight logistics space.

The Bright Future of an Industry In Flux

Fifth Wall’s investment in Shipwell is about more than simply investing in a shipping company, but rather a chance for our Anchors and portfolio companies to be a part of what we see as a crucial aspect America’s continued economic growth.

Fifth Wall can significantly influence Shipwell’s outcome given our extensive network of retailers, as well as retail and logistics real estate owners. They are the preeminent player developing long-needed technologies which will advance and modernize a space pivotal to the American economy. As the number of goods shipped by individuals and businesses continues to increase, Fifth Wall is excited to play a part in digitizing the future of the freight shipping industry.