30 Logistics Startups You Should Know
by Sid Saha
The logistics and transportation industry saw a surge in funding last year — from $7B in 2014 to $14B in 2015. Venture capitalists are bullish about the potential for startups are bringing efficiency to an antiquated but lucrative industry.
Often these startups are less well-known due to the “un-sexiness” of the logistics space. To help we decided to compile a list of some promising startups that are looking to make a dent in this industry.
If you’re new to the world of logistics, here’s a list of basic terminology.
If after reading this list you want to learn more about these companies, here are two things you can do:
- Subscribe to this Twitter list.
- Drop us your email and you’ll get a spreadsheet of the companies we’ve collected with links to their open job postings.
Santa Monica, CA, ~10 employees, Founded in 2013
$1.28M in total funding, Seed round led by Winklevoss Capital
For consumers, moving things from one location to another is notoriously expensive. For instance, it costs the customer about $200 and 2–3 days to get a couch delivered from WestElm via their delivery partner.
BuddyTruk makes the hauling and moving process “social”. It connects consumers with a local person with a truck (a “buddy”). Buddies can earn upto $40/hour. The consumer saves money by paying a person, not a company. The delivery is generally completed in hours, not days.
The startup now operates in Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, and Orange County.
More about BuddyTruck
San Francisco, CA, ~34 employees, Founded in 2014
$3M in total funding, Seed round led by Semil Shah
The office commute in San Francisco is expensive and time consuming.
Chariot is building better transit routes (by learning commuter habits and preferences) that are faster than public transport and cheaper than taxi or Uber. It crowdsources routes and pickup / drop-off stops by learning home and work addresses from users. It’s Chariots (14-passenger vans) use custom technology to route and service customers.
Chariot is enabling ~60,000 rides a month and has brought prices down to ~$3 on specific routes.
More on Chariot
- How Chariot thrived where other private transit startups failed (San Francisco Business Times)
- The Story behind Semil Shah’s investment in Chariot (Semi Shah’s blog)
- Chariot: The Last Bus Startup Standing (TechCrunch)
San Francisco, CA, ~8 employees, Founded in 2014
$3M in total funding, Seed round led by NEA and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors
Shipping carriers, freight forwarders, and others in the supply chain struggle to get the right asset at the right place at the right time and make the most optimal trade decisions. ClearMetal generates highly accurate predictions to help the industry solve its most complex challenges, like how to efficiently place ocean containers and plan vessel space.
ClearMetal does this by modeling, predicting, and simulating the movement of every ocean container using Data Science and Machine Learning.
ClearMetal’s platform has shown millions of dollars of incremental savings potential and revenue generation for some of the largest logistics providers on the planet.
More about ClearMetal
San Francisco, CA, Founded in 2016
$270K in total funding, Seed round led by Gary Fritz (Former President of Expedia), R/GA Ventures
Darkstore is an on-demand delivery 3PL. They’re enabling e-commerce brands to house inventory in major cities and offering on-demand and same-day delivery at low prices.
Instead of owning fulfillment centers themselves, Darkstore uses extra space in storage facilities, malls, and bodegas. They don’t charge e-commerce companies to store inventory, but charge 3% per item that leaves Darkstore.
They currently have storage facilities (“Darkstores”) in San Francisco and Phoenix and will be starting services in New York and Los Angeles in October.
Tuft and Needle, a mattress startup is already using them to power same-day deliveries.
More about Darkstore
South San Francisco, CA, ~4 employees, Founded in 2015
$2M in total funding, Andreessen Horowitz and Precursor Ventures
Dispatch is building Carry, an autonomous robot with 4 compartments and a weight of 100 pounds, that can automate the last-mile delivery. The robot travels at the pace of pedestrians on sidewalks and bike paths to deliver items.
Consumers can track the robot carrying the delivery, receive a notification when the robot arrives, and unlock it with their phones.
Dispatch has launched pilot programs at Menlo College and CSU Monterey Bay to deliver to students their mail, packages, and other things.
More about Dispatch
San Francisco, CA, ~17 employees, Founded in 2013
$1.9M in total funding, Seed round led by Motus Ventures
It’s inconvenient to receive packages because customers can’t select a day or time to receive them. This results in missed or stolen deliveries.
Doorman has a mobile app that consumers can use to schedule deliveries by appointment. Consumers get their packages shipped to Doorman and select the day and time they want it to be delivered by Doorman.
Doorman also provides an API that e-commerce companies can integrate with to let shoppers choose a delivery day and time during checkout.
More about Doorman
San Francisco, CA, ~25 employees, Founded in 2012
$3.45M in total funding, Y-Combinator Backed
Online retailers ship with multiple carriers. Integrating with USPS, UPS, and FedEx, implementing real-time rates, and tracking and communicating order status are just a few shipping issues online retailers face.
EasyPost provides a simple unified API to integrate with over 63 shipping carriers worldwide. Online retailers can get the best rates on shipments and compare prices and delivery times across USPS, FedEx, USP, and others.
Teesping, Vinted, and Printful use EasyPost for all their shipping needs.
More about EasyPost
- EasyPost helps small businesses ship like Amazon (The New York Times)
- How EasyPost handles rise in Delivery Service Demand (Bloomberg)
San Francisco, CA, ~17 employees, Founded in 2014
$3.8M in total funding, Seed round led by A.Capital Ventures
Lugg makes it effortless to get anything moved.
Their mobile app connects a consumer with a truck and two movers. Consumers set up a pickup location, add a photo of the item they want moved, and the movers are on the way. The movers reach you within 15–60 minutes, instead of hours.
Lugg picks up from San Francisco, San Mateo, Foster City, Oakland, Fremont, and Hayward but can drop stuff anywhere in the Bay Area.
More about Lugg
- Lugg hits Silicon Valley (TechCrunch)
- Lugg, an app for on-demand short distance moves, raises $3.8M (TechCrunch)
San Francisco, CA, ~12 employees, Founded in 2014
$3.9M in total funding, Seed round led by Semil Shah
Businesses managing their own delivery fleet (or working with third-party couriers) require an all-encompassing logistics solution to manage their couriers.
Onfleet provides software infrastructure to allow companies to offer their customers on-demand and scheduled deliveries. To be clear, Onfleet does not provide drivers. Instead they provide a backend to coordinate deliveries and optimize delivery routes that drive savings.
So far the company has powered several million deliveries since launch.
More about Onfleet
San Francisco, CA, ~4 employees, Founded in 2013
It’s expensive for San Francisco’s local online and offline businesses to enable same-day deliveries since courier companies charge for the full round trip.
Rickshaw turns any business into Amazon Prime by enabling same-day deliveries. They aggregate demand across customers into dense, efficient routes that are offered to their partner couriers. This makes deliveries reliable and affordable for customers while offering predictable route durations and guaranteed pay for couriers.
Same-day deliveries start at $5.50.
More about Rickshaw
New York, Chicago and Tel Aviv, ~30 employees, Founded in 2013
$10M in total funding, Cambridge Capital, Ituran, Pereg Ventures
Bringg is a platform for enterprises to manage on-demand and last-mile deliveries. Bringg enriches the existing logistics infrastructure so companies have capabilities like Amazon and Uber.
Their platform can connect with a variety of APIs, allowing large businesses to create a system that works with their existing infrastructure.
They have customers in 80 countries across industries like retail, e-commerce, food and beverage, and more.
More about Bringg
Venice, CA, ~52 employees, Founded in 2013
$11M in total funding, Series A led by Canaan Partners
Getting instant access to local truckers is hard. Conversely, most truckers don’t run on full capacity because they’re not discovered easily.
Cargomatic is a marketplace of shippers and local truckers. Shippers get instant access to a network of trusted local truckers. They’re able to track the movement of their goods in real-time and get status updates via email. Because Cargomatic aggregates loads across customers, shippers generally get a cheaper price.
Boxed, Hudson, and MIQ Logistics use the service. Cargomatic operates in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
More about Cargomatic
- The Sharing Economy goes B-to-B (Huffington Post)
- “Uber for Trucking”, like Cargomatic, is changing the Freight Industry (Forbes)
Seattle, WA, ~27 employees, Founded in 2013
$10M in total funding, Maveron
Dolly is basically Uber for furniture and other large items.
Customers can request a helper and/or a truck from their app to help with moving furniture between apartments or storage units, picking up big items purchased on Craigslist, or donating furniture.
The company operates in Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Seattle.
More about Dolly
- On-demand moving app, Dolly raises $8M in Series A (TechCrunch)
- Dolly: A new way to move bulky items (GeekWire)
San Francisco, CA, ~160 employees, Founded in 2013
$29M in total funding, Series A led by Founders Fund
Transatlantic shipping is a laborious process. A business has to discover and talk to multiple freight forwarders, compare prices manually, track and coordinate over phone and email.
Flexport is a licensed freight forwarder built around a web application. Businesses can easily understand, purchase, manage, and track the services required for global trade. It brings transparency and eases air and ocean freight forwarding.
The Ministry of Supply, Bluesmart, Tortuga Blankets, Ring.com, and MeUndies use Flexport to simplify their supply chain.
More about Flexport
San Francisco, CA, ~25 employees, Founded in 2014
$14M in total funding, Series A led by Spark Capital
90% of all physical goods in the world are shipped in standard steel shipping containers, and nearly all of those shipments are arranged via email and phone. This is a non-transparent process and shippers often end up paying more.
Haven offers a marketplace of ocean and air freight carriers. They smooth out the booking process by allowing shippers to bid on guaranteed shipping container capacity and save up to 20%. Freight carriers receive the best price among bidders.
They operate globally with 15 of the top 20 ocean carriers and every major freight forwarder.
More about Haven
- Haven streamlines the process of ocean freight shipping (TechCrunch)
- Haven raised $11M for its ocean freight booking platform (Venture Beat)
San Francisco, CA, ~50 employees, Founded in 2013
$10.3M in total funding, Series A led by Index Ventures
The majority of truckers maintain paper logbooks to record their hours of service (HOS). Drivers then share those paper logs with their fleet, which is a largely manual process that necessitates sorting faxes and mail documents.
The federal government has mandated that by December 2017 all commercial vehicles must record HOS using an engine-connected Electronic Logging Device (ELD), which will impact 4.5 million drivers across the US and Canada. The KeepTruckin ELD captures the necessary HOS data and reports on it via a fleet manager dashboard.
More than just an ELD mandate compliance solution — the KeepTruckin Dashboard for fleets helps managers automatically edit driver logs, track vehicles in real-time, and communicate with drivers.
Over 250,000 drivers and 10,000 fleets with sizes ranging up to 600 vehicles use KeepTruckin electronic logs.
More about KeepTruckin
- KeepTruckin raises $8M to bring Logging Miles for Truckers (TechCrunch)
- KeepTruckin ELD now on FMCSA’s registry (Overdrive)
Menlo Park, CA, ~20 employees, Founded in 2011
$13M in total funding, Andreessen Horowitz
Matternet is solving the “last mile” logistics problem by building cloud software and automated drones for lightweight goods. Designed exclusively for transportation, their networks seamlessly connect smart drones, cloud software, and safe ground stations to an intuitive mobile app, enabling easy set-up and operation.
Their first product, Matternet ONE drone and cloud software is certified for beyond-line-of-sight logistics operations by the Swiss Aviation Authorities.
They partnered with Swiss Post and Swiss Airlines where they worked with their pharma customers. They recently worked with UNICEF and the Government of Malawi, delivering HIV diagnostics. The startup, also, used its product in Papua New Guinea to distribute tuberculosis medication. Moreover, they’re working in the Dominican Republic, with the Inter-American Development Bank, to connect public health system facilities located in hard-to-access locations.
More about Matternet
- Matternet is building drones that could save lives (Business Insider)
- No Roads? There’s a drone for that (TED)
- Innovating to fight tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea (Doctors without Borders)
San Francisco, CA, ~28 employees, Founded in 2014
$10M in total funding, Series A led by Highland Capital Partners
Urban dwellers, who have less space in their homes, routinely face the challenge of finding room for the stuff they need but don’t use every day — usually resorting to a storage facility if they want to store extra stuff.
Omni turns storage into an on-demand service. The company allows consumers to schedule a pickup of things from their home and store them at Omni’s warehouses. Omni itemizes items (with photos) so customers can view, organize, and find what they need on Omni’s mobile app.
The company recently rolled out the capability to allow customers to lend stored items to friends — it handles the delivery and return.
More about Omni
- How Omni envisions a true ‘sharing economy’ (Fortune)
- Omni lets users lend stuff to friends from virtual closets (SF Chronicle)
- Omni bags $7M in Series A (VC News Daily)
Santa Barbara, CA, ~46 employees, Founded in 2012
$6M in total funding, Series A led by DN Capital
When shipping large items or items that don’t fit in a box, finding specialized carriers is hard and pricing is opaque.
ShipHawk is a technology platform that offers instant price comparisons, optimal delivery options, and intelligent packaging solutions that minimize costs and improve sales. The company has a network of over 200 parcel, LTL, truckload, blanket wrap, and home delivery options.
Additionally, ShipHawk generates required shipping documentation (labels, commercial invoices, and BOLs). Using their API, retailers can provide shipping price comparisons in the shopping cart, customer-facing order tracking, and aggregated data and insights across all shipping types.
More about ShipHawk
- ShipHawk launches $5M led by DN Capital (TechCrunch)
- ShipHawk democratizes e-commerce shipping (Internet Retailer)
- ShipHawk named one of CIOReview’s 20 most promising e-commerce solution providers in 2016 (Business Wire)
San Francisco, CA, ~25 employees, Founded in 2014
$9M in total funding, Series A led by Union Square Ventures
The shipping industry is fragmented, difficult to navigate, and unless you’re an enterprise with established shipping volume, it’s difficult to negotiate prices.
Shippo provides a simple API for developers to integrate into their apps to enable multi-carrier shipping and rate shopping. They also have a web dashboard that enables businesses to start shipping by connecting with platforms like Shopify or uploading a CSV. Shippo is able to get huge discounts because they’re able to negotiate for them with the aggregate volume of all their customers.
Shippo offers the full shipping stack: domestic and international shipping, return labels, insurance, address verification, and tracking packages. Businesses can use Shippo to connect with a multitude of shipping carriers such as USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and even UberRUSH.
GoDaddy, Shyp, and MemeBox are a few customers.
More about Shippo
- Laura Wu, CEO Shippo, on building a culture of transparency (AZ Tech Beat)
- Union Square Ventures Leads Series A Investment in Shippo (PR Newswire)
Boston, MA, ~31 employees, Founded in 2005
$1.25M in total funding, 3TS Capital Partners, 212 Limited
Solvoyo provides a single platform for all the needs of a sophisticated supply chain.
It has 3 segments: strategic planning, tactical planning, and operational planning. Solvoyo forecasts demand to realign inventory, optimizes delivery performance by reducing inbound and outbound transportation costs, and balances cost and service across omni-channel networks.
More about Solvoyo
Mountain View, CA, ~55 employees, Founded in 2013
$21.5M in total funding, Renren Inc., Wicklow Capital
There are about 350,000 drivers who are independent owner-operators, while companies with less than 10 trucks make up 90% of the industry. These drivers and companies don’t get enough work because they are hard to discover. Trucker Path aims to get them to the “gig economy” with a mobile app that connects them to available freights to keep their trucks full.
The app has attracted over 450,000 monthly active users, with a 20% growth over the last 6 months.
More about Trucker Path
San Francisco, CA, ~32 employees, Founded in 2014
$12M in total funding, Series A led by Visionnaire Ventures
More than two billion people in the world lack adequate access to essential medical products, often due to challenging terrain and gaps in infrastructure.
Zipline has designed a small autonomous robot airplane (a “zip”) that can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood to inaccessible areas. A health worker can place an order by a text message, and within minutes a zip is launched. The medical products are dropped off, landing gently and accurately at the health facility.
With a partnership with the Government of Rwanda, Zipline is delivering blood products to 20 hospitals and health centers in Rwanda. It is also ramping up to launch operations in rural US communities.
More about Zipline
Menlo Park, CA, ~50 employees, Founded in 2012
$40M in total funding, Series B by UPS
Deliv is a crowd-sourced, last mile logistics company that powers scheduled, same-day delivery, and returns for omni-channel retailers, local businesses, and eCommerce companies. Deliv delivers same day by picking goods from brick and mortar stores, effectively turning them into strategic distribution centers. The Deliv same-day delivery option is integrated into a retailer’s existing checkout process, allowing the retailer to preserve the customer shopping experience and maintain ownership of data from each customer transaction.
Deliv services over 4,000 retailers and businesses, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Google Express, and Best Buy.
More about Deliv
- Deliv scores win with Wallgreens’ deal (TechCrunch)
- Interview with Deliv CEO, Daphne Carmeli (StreetFight)
- Walmart is piloting same-day delivery with Deliv, Uber, and Lyft (Walmart Blog)
Mountain View, CA, ~146 employees, Founded in 2012
$67M in total funding, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Flex, AME Cloud Ventures
All large companies that sell physical products have to deal with hundreds of suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors. However, most companies use archaic software to manage the process, which slows communication and is not proactive.
Elementum is the real-time supply chain platform, powered by the world’s Product Graph™ to digitally map the $25T product economy. The cloud software unifies procurement, logistics, manufacturing, and inventory operations to provide a full picture of the global product economy for smarter, more proactive decision-making. With actionable insights and early warning signs to assign, collaborate on, and resolve issues — from C-level to boots-on-the-ground — Elementum delivers both a bird’s eye for executives and a deep-dive on individual pieces of the supply chain.
Elementum’s customers include Fortune 500 companies spanning the automotive, healthcare, food & beverage, industrial consumer, and technology sectors.
More about Elementum
- Why Box Chief invested in Elementum (The New York Times)
- Elementum snares $44M in funding (ZDNet)
- Elementum is solving every product company’s biggest problem (Business Insider)
San Bruno, CA, ~94 employees
$34M in total funding, Battery Ventures, Accel Partners
Online retailers are moving towards providing a branded customer experience across the entire customer lifecycle, which doesn’t end when the customer has made a purchase. Delivery tracking, the actual delivery, and the occasional return play a big role in customer loyalty.
Narvar provides branded experience to online retailers post-purchase by providing integration with major carriers for automatic selection, sending automatic delivery updates to customers, and taking care of returns.
Major brands like Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bass Pro Shops are using Narvar to simplify their deliveries and provide a wow customer experience, post-purchase.
More about Narvar
- Narvar raises $22M to help retailers deliver good without frustrating customers (TechCrunch)
- Online Retailers should care more about the post-purchase experience (Harvard Business Review)
Atlanta, GA, ~28 employees, Founded in 2014
$25M in total funding, Warren Stephens of Stephens Inc., UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures, Square co-founder Jim McKelvey (among others)
Roadie is a community based on-the-way delivery network.
The software utilizes unused capacity in passenger vehicles, connecting people who have items to send with drivers already heading in the right direction. Consumers create a gig for delivery or shipment and the app provides options to choose from multiple drivers going in the direction.
The app has more than 250,000 downloads and 20,000 drivers nationwide. From cupcakes to couches and everything in between, thousands of items have been sent through the Roadie network.
More about Roadie
San Francisco, CA, ~195 employees, Founded in 2013
$62M in total funding, Series B led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers
Busy city dwellers hate waiting in line to send packages.
Shyp makes shipping anything easy. Customers snap a photo of their items and request a pickup. A Shyp courier picks up the items at convenient time and location, figures out whether USPS, FedEx, or UPS is the cheapest option, and ships the package to the destination.
The company operates in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They have tens of thousands of customers with a healthy engagement rate. The company’s number of shipments increased 500% last year and customer growth is 20% month-on-month.
More about Shyp
- How Shyp is shaking up Shipping (Fast Company)
- Shyp rolls out bulk shipping options to ease online seller frustrations (Business Insiders)
- Shyp builds on eBay partnership (E-Commerce Bytes)
New York, NY,~73 employees, Founded in 2010
$36.5M in total funding, New Enterprise Associates, Canvas Ventures
In 2014, freight truck operators logged a stunning 54 billion miles in the US without carrying any inventory.
Transfix is a web and mobile app that matches customers who need interstate freight shipping with truck drivers who have extra capacity. The system tracks shipments, texts drivers, alerts customers when a shipment is delayed, and calculates drivers’ fuel taxes.
Transfix does a million dollars a month in a revenue and helps truckers get paid within 24 hours of a completed shipment.
More about Transfix
San Francisco, CA, ~250 employees, Founded in 2011
$138M in total funding, Series D led by Tiger Global
Postmates’ vision is to power local, on-demand logistics to allow any type of merchant to deliver anything at scale.
The company has the largest on-demand delivery fleet (20,000+) in 40 US metropolitan markets. They have built partnerships with major brands like Starbucks, Chipotle, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, and Apple. With access to a large customer base and $138M in funding, Postmates is best poised to streamline this industry.
More about Postmates
San Francisco, CA, ~_ employees, Founded in 2013
$187M in total funding, Series C led by Sequoia Capital
Local restaurants are limited to a small area when it comes to deliveries. DoorDash uses their fleet of drivers to enable restaurants to deliver to customers that were previously hard to reach.
Their goal is to empower small business owners to offer delivery in an affordable and convenient way, and are working towards that mission by first enabling food deliveries.
DoorDash has over a million customers and operate in many major cities across the US.
More about DoorDash
- DoorDash wins 2016 most Customer-Centric award (MarketWired)
- DoorDash now delivers alcoholic drinks with meals in the Bay Area (Venture Beat)
- Tony Xu, DoorDash CEO, on building a thriving business in the difficult on-demand market (This Week in Startups)
San Francisco, CA, ~6700 employees, Founded in 2009
$15B in total funding
UberRUSH, which now operates in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, provides cheap, on-demand delivery solution for local businesses.
Uber uses cars on the route or bikes for deliveries. It also provides an API and pre-built integrations for e-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce.
With UberRUSH, businesses can request pickups, track shipments, and notify customers.
More about UberRUSH
- Let us know in the comments which great companies we missed.
- If this article was valuable for you, please recommend / share.
- If you’re looking to join one of these companies, but don’t know where to start, let’s chat!
About the author:
Sid Saha is a technical growth marketer specializing in SaaS marketing. He helps startups grow with SEO, conversion optimization, and product virality. He’s worked as a Product Marketer and Applications Architect in AdTech and social platform startups. You can reach him here.