Flexport secures $1bn investment for infrastructure and technology

Flexport's Ryan Petersen

Freight forwarder Flexport has secured $1bn in funding, which will be used to invest in technology and infrastructure.

The investment round was led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from existing investors Founders Fund, DST Global, Cherubic Ventures, Susa Ventures and SF Express, which has previously invested $100m in the forwarder.

“Flexport will use the capital to deepen its technology and data capabilities, grow its global logistics infrastructure footprint, and invest in industry expertise to help clients navigate increasingly complex global trade environments,” the company said in a release.

Flexport said modern companies must be able to deliver products almost instantly and be highly responsive to the expectations of consumers.

“Expectations that are table stakes in the consumer world but that the antiquated global freight forwarding ecosystem is often unable to meet,” Flexport added.

“Our vision is to unite the planet in a seamless web of commerce, unhindered by physical borders, boundaries or political agendas,” said Ryan Petersen, founder and chief executive of Flexport.

“The Vision Fund shares our belief in using technology to create a better, more interconnected world and their support will propel us into that future, making global trade easier for everyone.”

Michael Ronen, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers said: “Logistics is a $7trn industry that is crucial for global trade, yet extraordinarily fragmented. Even the largest companies only hold single-digit market share.

“Flexport’s pioneering use of technology and its data advantage position the company for exceptional growth in this multi-trillion dollar industry.”

Ronen will represent SBIA on the Flexport board, and Ed Shrager, director at SBIA, will join as a board observer.

In 2018, Flexport doubled revenues, generated nearly $500m in sales, increased headcount to nearly 1,000 employees, expanded its geographic presence to 11 offices and warehouses around the world.

In September achieved the ranking of 11th largest freight forwarder by ocean volume on the world’s largest shipping lane, the transpacific eastbound.

The company expects the financing to close in the second quarter upon the receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Shah joins Tiaca

In other news from the forwarder, Neel Jones Shah, senior vice president and global head of sirfreight at Flexport, has been appointed to the TIACA board of directors.

 Shah, who previously served on the TIACA Board from 2011 to 2012, joins with almost 20 years of experience in the aviation and transport industry.

Since 2017 he has been responsible for building up global air cargo delivery capabilities for freight forwarder Flexport.

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