Cargo.one raises funds with Lufthansa Cargo one of the investors
05 / 12 / 2018
Cargo.one founding team
Online airfreight booking portal cargo.one has raised $3.2m in funding for the further development of the platform, with Lufthansa Cargo one of the investors.
The platform, which allows user to book on the spot market with real-time pricing, launched earlier this year and has expanded rapidly.
The funding will be used to develop new services on the platform and also expand internationally.
As well as Lufthansa Cargo, the other investors are Creandum and Point Nine Capital, which were early investors in Spotify and Delivery Hero.
Speaking to Air Cargo News, cargo.one co-founder Moritz Claussen said it was in regular contact with freight forwarders to discuss how they would like to see the platform develop.
One such investment is “station-wide views”, meaning that more than one user can view bookings to allow greater access to shipment updates when the person that made the booking is away. Another is the ability to save quotes for a later date.
On the airline side, the funding will help facilitate the connection process as more carriers come on-board.
“The money will allow us to go global now,” Claussen said. “We started with European airlines but now we are starting to add more international airlines and that means we will need to scale operations to support global customers more effectively.”
So far Lufthansa Cargo and virtual airline Leisure Cargo have signed up to the platform on the carrier side, while Dachser and Hellmann Worldwide are confirmed forwarders.
While these are all German companies, Claussen said that talks are underway with other European carriers as well as airlines from North America and Asia and he is confident that more announcements will be made soon.
On the forwarder side, Claussen said that cargo.one was being used by more than 75 freight forwarders, including Agility, Hermes, Emo Trans, Senator and Jas Forwarding, even though announcements have not been made.
He said: “We are serving a lot of customers in Germany, but also neighbouring countries that use the euro, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria.”
Claussen also spoke about having Lufthansa Cargo as an investor, will this put off other airlines from using the platform?
He responded: “It is a great signal that one of the largest airlines actually thinks our technology is advanced enough that they are willing to invest.
“We discussed having Lufthansa as an investor, and we are very positive about having them on board. Lufthansa becomes a minority shareholder with no operational involvement whatsoever and we are open for investments from other airlines in the future too.”
He added that there would be internal governance in place to ensure separation between the operational and investment parts of the business.
In a statement, cargo.one co-founder Oliver Neumann added: "With this investment, we can take another big step towards making the cross-airline distribution and booking of air freight accessible to all airlines and forwarders.
“The goal: A digital booking infrastructure to make airfreight bookable in real time, independent of the provider. We will be adding a number of international airlines across several continents as partners within the next couple of months, and are on track to gain a majority of freight forwarders in Europe to join the cargo.one platform as customers.”
In the same statement, the investors explained why they had decided to invest in the platform.
Lufthansa Cargo chief executive Peter Gerber said: "cargo.one is another important step in the digitalisation of our industry. We are delighted to be one of the first airlines to recognise the potential of this multi-airline platform for our customers and to have made ourselves compatible.”
Creandum partner Simon Schmincke said: "The market for air freight booking has huge potential for optimised and faster processes.
“We believe that any industry can be fundamentally changed by the right entrepreneurs, and cargo.one, with its state-of-the-art technology and an experienced and knowledgeable founding team, promises to become the leading technology provider in this market”
Point Nine Capital managing partner Pawel Chudzinski added: "In less than a year, the cargo.one founding team has managed to gather an impressive number of partners for their booking platform.
“We are convinced that in cargo.one, we’ve found the right team to fundamentally change the airfreight market, which is ready for change. Booking air freight will be faster and more transparent.”
Meanwhile. Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has given more details on why it has decided to sign up to use the portal.
Bart de Vries, chief operating officer air and sea, Hellmann Worldwide Logistic, said: "The digital booking-platform will reduce the complexity of carrier API’s. The benefit for us is, that Hellmann needs to develop only one API to connect to several airlines.
"Cargo.one is a very agile startup which fits perfect to Hellmann’s strategy of digital solutions along the supply chain. We believe our partnership will deliver faster and more flexible solutions than the ones with larger suppliers, which are also trying to sell other tools and market places."
Hellmann global head of airfreight Jan Kleine-Lasthues said it was expecting more airlines to sign up: "The intention is to have one global solution and we expect that also other airlines will join the platform soon. Many Airlines are today re-engineering their pricing/spot quote process and that will give cargo.one the opportunity to develop their footprint globally."