We are excited to announce our newest investment in newtrul, a Chicago-based shipping company that is bringing neutrality to the logistics market. The round was led by Autotech Ventures, alongside I2BF and Fission Ventures.
Understanding the Challenges of the Logistics Market
During the last 5 years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the total funding of logistics startups, growing at a 76% compound annual growth rate since 2014.
Most of this funding has gone to digital freight brokerage companies. Digital freight brokerages are online marketplaces that connect shipping entities and truckers via mobile apps. Traditionally, shippers and carriers operate within a disaggregated network of freight brokers responsible for connecting trucking companies and truckers with potential shipping loads. Most deals are coordinated by phone or fax which makes the process inefficient and time-consuming. With digital freight brokerages, companies can more efficiently match shipper demand with carriers’ capacity and connect the two directly which then removes the need for a middleman.
These companies have raised more than $8,67bn in total from 240 different investors. Some of the most funded startups in this space include Flexport, Convoy or Next. Offering a more efficient system to book loads was meant to be disruptive for the logistics industry, but as the years have passed, traditional brokerage companies have digitized their systems. At the same time, digital freight brokerages have seen challenges due to the complexity of the industry and are investing more in human capital, and are now operating mostly the exact same way as the traditional brokerage companies.
Some digital freight brokerage companies claim themselves as neutral marketplaces, but they actually own a broker license. This makes it impossible to be neutral since they have conflicts of interest.
Another problem the digital freight brokerage companies are facing is the lack of differentiation and many of their users are present in numerous platforms. It is common to see a trucker with more than 3 digital brokerage apps on his/her phone. This makes the companies offer promotions and perks to their drivers at the expense of the margins.
According to the American Trucking Associations, fleets of 6 trucks or fewer represent 91.3% of all trucks in the trucking market and fleets of 20 trucks or fewer represent 97.4% of the market. This means that the market is severely fragmented and the sourcing of services is complicated along with the fact that the industry still relies heavily on manual work. This is important because there is not a unified source of trucking services. Each broker has their own network which is very limited and if he wants to grow his network, he will have to be constantly sourcing new small fleets which is inefficient and time-consuming.
As we can see in the chart above, digital attackers are not yet offering sufficient differentiation to shippers and carriers. If they were, the incumbents wouldn’t be featured as prominently as they do at the top of this ranking.
Newtrul’s platform streamlines the inefficient process of truckload freight matching by digitizing it into a spot marketplace that connects carriers with shippers and brokers. The platform integrates with transport management systems (TMS) to seamlessly upload shipment data, making it searchable and accessible.
Freight brokers and shippers have seen an increase in load volume and tender rejections in the domestic full truckload market. This is driving demand for Newtrul's platform. Newtrul's technology not only delivers meaningful capacity, but also increases efficiency and decreases costs related to capacity procurement operations. The value of Newtrul is even clearer for companies that have multiple entity types such as a shipper with a private fleet or a carrier with a brokerage.
How does it work?
newtrul wants to change the market from this:
The Team Behind Newtrul
Ed Stockman is a natural leader and an outstanding salesperson. He started his career in logistics as a sales employee after graduating. He was successful as a freight broker, and became Director of Sales at American Freight Solutions at 25 years old. Later, he joined Redwood Logistics as Director of Sales.
He understood that digital was the next step for logistics so he joined Transfix as Head of Sales and one of the company’s first employees. In 24 months, he grew the company from $300k to $11M MRR.
As newtrul’s founder, he has been able to attract excellent co-founders, creating a complementary team along with Shivam Sinha and John Tozer.
Shivam Sinha was previously SVP Head of Applications Development at Goldman Sachs. John Tozer is an Industrial Engineer with 12 years of experience in the US Navy where he led and organized teams of more than 300 people.
Newtrul is creating the next generation logistics marketplace. The team has deep expertise in the logistics industry and has identified a problem in the market everybody knows, but tackling it with a unique neutral approach. Plug and Play is extremely excited to support Ed and his team in this venture and we look forward to connecting them to our corporate partners.
Find out more about newtrul's Seed Round: