Investment in logistics tech — Four startups shaking up the logistics and transport industry, October 2019
The global logistics market continues to grow. Last year it reached a value of $4.739 trillion and is expected to reach $6.3 trillion by 2024. In Europe alone it generates £1 trillion in annual revenue, representing 11% of EU GDP, generating over 7 million jobs.
A huge part of this growth has been the increasing digitalisation and technological modernisation of the industry. Startups and digital disruptors are springing up everywhere especially in modernising countries where technology adoption and infrastructure improvements are fast-tracking sector growth. India has seen a capital infusion of $6.25 billion in the logistics sector in the first half of 2019 alone, a six-fold increase on what was raised last year. But even Europe, with its already stable infrastructure base, has seen funding rise to $2.622 billion in 2018, more than a billion dollars up on the previous year.
Some of the technologies driving this interest include cloud logistics, big data and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), improved sensors and internet connectivity, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT). The massive demand for improved logistics generated by the rise of e-commerce — which in itself raised $76.9 billion in global investments in 2018 — continues to be one of the main drivers.
Here are a handful of startups looking to play their part in modernising the industry.
Frontline Dynamics — https://tryfd.us/
Frontline Dynamics wants to bring digital simplification to the old-fashioned and often disjointed process of air-freight logistics. The California-based startup has created a digital platform that can fully connect the entire air cargo process from ground handling agents to airlines, freight forwarders and trucking companies, allowing for seamless data sharing, shipment tracking, instant payments and communication across the entire supply chain.
RPA Labs — https://www.rpalabs.com/
Bringing automation to backend processes, RPA Labs’ AI saves on labour by cutting out repetitive tasks in the logistics sector. Automating jobs such as reading scanned documents, processing invoices, inputting data, dealing with frequently asked questions and verifying proof of delivery, the technology not only generates tangible efficiencies but creates a bridge between legacy systems allowing for greater data integration.
London-based Zencargo has just raised $20 million in funding to disrupt the hugely complicated business of freight forwarding. Using machine learning and other technologies the startup hopes to replace physical paperwork and siloed data held by shipping companies to create a central platform that allows companies to ship faster, make smarter decisions and increase profitability with real-time data. The ultimate goal is to harvest some of the estimated £1.1 trillion available from current supply chain inefficiencies.
Indonesia has a burgeoning e-commerce scene but with more than 17,500 islands, many of which have poor infrastructure, and over 2,500 logistics providers, often covering just a small area, the logistics challenges are significant. Shipper is looking to provide “Amazon-level logistics” to the area by creating a platform that drastically improves the efficiency of order tracking and fulfilment. With analytics predicting the best shipping routes and a multi-carrier API that allows sellers to manage and track orders from their phones, the startup is beginning to get traction. It already has more than 25,000 online sellers and has received $5 million in seed funding this year.
Sciant helps new technologies find their feet in the logistics and transport market with the right connections and integrations to help scale in their preferred geographic locations. Sciant’s range of domain experts with specialism in data, machine learning, connectivity and integrations will enable concepts to evolve into MVPs and meet sector demand in features and functionality.