Once again there is evidence of healthy investment funding flowing into the logistics technology support area, one that has traditionally lagged in advanced technology.

Logistics technology start-up provider project 44 announced this week that the firm has raised an additional $35 million in venture-capital funding to support its growth objectives. Expansion phase venture capital firm OpenView led the financing, with additional investment from new investor 8VC, and existing investors Emergence Capital, Omidyar Technology, Chicago Ventures and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. The company indicates that this new round of funding places its value “at over a $100 million.”

This software provider’s messaging is to deliver a more visible and predictable transportation experience by addressing the industry’s most immediate pain points – pricing, routing, scheduling, tracking, delivery documentation, and payments. It does so through developing applications programming interfaces (API’s) that links disparate systems from various transportation and logistics providers.

Supply Chain Matters referenced project 44 in a prior blog addressing GE Transportation’s expanding efforts to improve ocean cargo logistics tracking and efficiencies. In early March, both companies announced the planned integration project44’s SaaS platform to augment GE Transportation’s Railroad and Shipper product suites.

Among our 2018 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains was a declaration that 2018 will present additional actions by major logistics and transportation network providers to achieve added scale and influence. That will likely include added strategic alignment of networks, more and larger merger and acquisition announcements in various notions of scale, all to take greater advantage of online buying preferences exploding requirements for multi-channel logistics fulfillment capabilities. Venture-capital firms are observing these strategic movements and have stepped-up bets in technology firms that can become the basis of dominant logistics tech platforms.

According to analytics firm CB Insights, VC firms invested upwards of $4 billion and backed more than 245 start-ups in the shipping and supply chain management technology area last year. In the area of logistics focused planning, execution and decision-making needs, many movements involve multiple information exchanges involving carriers, terminals, forwarders, or brokers.  The industry had traditionally had a reliance on FAX, emails, and telephone communications to exchange information with the obvious default information collection tool being spreadsheets. All of this is changing rather rapidly, and the new opportunities are revolving around which logistics networks become dominant in the online driven economy that continues to expand.

Expect such investment announcements to continue not only in logistics and enhanced end-to-end supply chain visibility, but supply chain planning and customer fulfillment software technology. Expect parallel efforts in increased merger, and acquisition moves.


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