Note to Readers: This particular edition of This Week in Supply Chain Tech initially appeared on September 21, 2021 but because of a technical issue related to the conversion of our site to a new ISP, this edition was inadvertently deleted. We are republishing for those readers who were not able to view the commentary.

 

The Supply Chain Matters blog features our September 22, 2021 edition of our supply chain management technology centric news capsule: This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech.

This series presents a brief synopsis of noteworthy supply chain management technology as well as business investment news which we believe would be of specific interest to our global-based supply chain management readership.

Our most recent publishing of this column series occurred on August 27.

The second half of 2021 continues with a highly active period of announcements related to supply chain management focused technology.  Hot investment areas remain Cloud based digital transformation, logistics, warehouse automation, robotics and ESR.

This particular edition features many updates, and the companies mentioned is include:

Echo Global Logistics

United Parcel Service and Roadie

Stord

Locus Robotics and Waypoint Robotics

TrueCommerce and DiCentral

LevaData

Google Cloud and project44

E2open and BlueJay Solutions

 

Echo Global Logistics to Sell Itself to Private Equity

One of the largest freight brokers serving the U.S. market, Echo Global Logistics, announced plans to sell the company to private equity firm Jordan Company LP. The deal is estimated to be approximately $1.3 billion.

The logistics provider is considered to be the eight largest U.S. middleman freight brokerage that connects shippers with trucking operators. According to The Wall Street Journal, the agreement will reportedly value the company at $48.25 per share representing a 54 percent premium over the company stock price at the time of the announcement.

Echo has had a track record of 21 prior acquisitions over several years, most involving smaller logistics and brokerage operators.  Reportedly the tie-up with Jordan would provide additional financial resources to spur growth thru more M&A actions along with added investments in the provider’s technology and data science platform. Jordan has backed other logistics and transportation services providers including Odyssey Logistics and Technology and AIT Worldwide Logistics.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and is subject to shareholder approval.

 

United Parcel Service to Acquire Roadie

United Parcel Service (UPS) has entered into an agreement to acquire online same-day delivery services provider Roadie.  Terms for this deal were not disclosed.

Roadie’s business model is the utilization of gig and crowdsourced drivers utilizing their own vehicles to deliver items from retailers on a same day basis. According to business and industry media reported, the acquisition provides UPS with a capability platform in same day delivery for certain packages.

According to a UPS Media advisory, “Roadie’s technology, combined with UPS’s portfolio, will open doors for new growth opportunities. Roadie’s technology platform also will provide opportunities to improve existing, and potentially add additional, UPS small package capabilities. The Roadie technology platform is purpose-built to connect merchants and consumers with contract drivers to enable efficient and scalable same-day local delivery services nationwide.

Further noted: “Following the completion of the acquisition, Roadie will operate with the same name, providing the same great service to its customers. UPS package car drivers will continue to deliver packages within the UPS network. Goods transported by Roadie will not cross into the UPS network and packages transported in the UPS network will not cross into the Roadie network.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

 

Stord Announces $90 Million Series D Funding

End-to-end logistics and customer warehouse fulfillment services provider Stord has announced $90 million in Series D funding led by Kleiner Perkins. With the latest funding, the company is reportedly valued at $1.1 billion. This latest funding also comes six months after the company’s $65 million Series C event. Total funding raised to date reportedly amounts to $205 million. Among noted investors in addition to Kleiner are BOND, Salesforce Ventures, Lineage Logistics and other angel investors.

The services provider provides an Amazon Prime like logistics fulfillment capability for providing guaranteed 2-day nationwide shipping capability. Coupled with first party warehouses, the services provider has a network of over 400 warehouse partners and 15,000 carriers.

The provider has reportedly delivered its third consecutive year of 300 percent plus growth and is on track to repeat that success in 2021. Total headcount has grown from 160 in 2020 to now over 400 thus far.

Along with the funding event, Stord further announced the closing of its acquisition of Fulfillment Works, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) customer fulfillment provider. This provider’s deep DTC experience and first-party warehouses on both coasts are deemed critical to powering Stord’s next phase of growth.

 

Locus Robotics Adds Additional $50 Million in Funding and Makes Added Acquisition

Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) technology provider for customer fulfillment warehouses, Locus Robotics, announced that the provider has secured a further $50 million in funding from existing investor Tiger Global Management.  The additional investment reportedly adds to a prior Series E investment made by Tiger Global.

The additional funding is expected to be focused on helping to facilitate continued growth and expansion into new markets.

Locus Robotics further announced that it has acquired Waypoint Robotics, a provider of industrial-strength, autonomous, omnidirectional mobile robots. This acquisition reportedly aims to broaden Locus’s line of AMR capabilities to support scenarios requiring automation of heavier loads and fulfillment modalities.

No financial terms were disclosed in the announcement.

Global parcel delivery and logistics provider DHL recently signed a deal with Locus Robotics to supply upwards of 2,000 robots among its global facilities. In the announcement of the Waypoint Logistics acquisition, Sally Miller, CIO, DHL Supply Chain North America, is quoted as indicating that the move will open up promising new opportunities in the DHL partnership with Locus Robotics.

 

 

TrueCommerce Announces Acquisition of DiCentral

Global B2B business and supply chain network platform provider TrueCommerce announced the acquisition of Houston based global B2B and API services provider DiCentral.

No purchase price or transaction details have been disclosed.

Known for simplifying complex API and EDI business challenges, DiCentral adds 30,000 connections to TrueCommerce’s Global Commerce Network, with nearly 5,000 customers from a diverse base. The combined B2B network is expected to expand to 160,000 connections and nearly 18,000 customers.

Thuy Mai, DiCentral CEO will become a member of the TrueCommerce executive leadership team, serving as Co-Chief Strategy Officer of TrueCommerce. Todd Johnson will serve as the new CEO of DiCentral in addition to his current role as President and COO of TrueCommerce. John Fay will continue to serve as CEO of the combined company.

 

LevaData Announces Series C Funding of $47 Million

Integrated artificial intelligence (AI) and direct material sourcing software provider LevaData has announced that it raised $47 million in Series C funding. This strategic investment was led by Banneker Partners with participation from its pre-existing investor, Tola Capital. The investment follows the company’s significant global revenue growth during the first half of 2021.

According to the announcement, the added investment and partnership will help LevaData accelerate its growth strategies at a time when its customers and primary markets are most vulnerable and need them most. Areas of investment priorities are noted as continuous improvement of integrated platform capabilities, a deeper physical presence in key global markets, and the creation of hundreds of new jobs. It will further enable the expansion of an already thriving partnership community, which currently includes Bain & Company, Kinaxis, IBM, PTC, and RapidRatings.

 

Google Cloud Announces Launch of Supply Chain Twin

Google Cloud has announced the launch of Supply Chain Twin, a purpose-built industry application that lets companies build a digital twin–a virtual representation of their physical supply chain–by orchestrating data from disparate sources. The application was developed to provide a more complete view of suppliers, inventories, and other information.

Retailers, manufacturers, CPG firms, healthcare networks, and other logistics-heavy companies can deploy this application by working directly with Google Cloud’s partner ecosystem.

In addition, a Supply Chain Pulse module was further announced, which can be used in conjunction with Supply Chain Twin to provide real-time dashboards, advanced analytics, alerts on critical issues and collaboration in Google Workspace.

Aligned with the Google Cloud announcement, project44, an advanced visibility platform for shippers and logistics service providers, announced a partnership with Google Cloud whereby project44 will integrate its capabilities into Google Cloud’s Supply Chain Twin to provide joint customers with a view into the supply chain network, including data across all modes. The project44 Cloud platform currently supports more than 680 global shippers and logistics services providers, providing visibility into a network of more than 113,000 multimodal carrier integrations.

 

E2open Announces Completion of Acquisition of BluJay Solutions

In May of this year, this column highlighted an announcement by E2open Parent Holdings, Inc. (E2open), a network-based provider of Cloud-based, end-to-end supply chain management B2B platform, that it would acquire BluJay Solutions, a Cloud-based, logistics execution platform.

E2open has now announced the successful completion of the acquisition with BluJay now part of the company’s product offerings.

BluJay consists of a SaaS platform for supporting shippers, Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) and freight forwarders. Featured is a suite of logistics execution applications and a broad trade network of over 50,000 participants serving over 5,700 global customers.

This concludes our latest edition of Supply Chain Matters This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech.

A note to readers: Supply Chain Matters will feature this column periodically as announcements warrant.

 

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