Beacon, a digital freight forwarding and supply chain finance company, has raised over $15 million in its Series A fundraising round, with investors including Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, and leading US venture capital firm 8VC, according to a statement.
The company says it uses best-in-class AI, search, optimisation, data science, cloud and automation technologies to unlock significant operational efficiencies.
Its platform combines a real-time view of the global delivery of cargo and a marketplace view of global shipping costs and prices, all powered by machine learning that optimises shipping routes and processes for improved cost, speed and predictability.
CEO Fraser Robinson said its goal is to “disrupt the trillion-dollar freight forwarding market by vastly improving the experience for importers and exporters with a more transparent and smarter shipping product.”
“With digitalisation accelerating globally as a result of COVID-19,” Robinson continued, “we believe the future of the traditional freight forwarder is more precarious than ever.”
“Shippers are seeking technology-led products and services that will meet their needs more effectively, enhance their experience and cut their costs. We look forward to meeting that demand.”
Robinson founded Beacon along with and COO Dmitri Izmailov, both former Uber executives. They were joined by CTO Pierre Martin, previously at Amazon, bringing together a management team with, what they called a “deep expertise in logistics, technology, finance and hyper-growth, which is committed to radically simplifying how companies import and export goods globally.”
The freight forwarding and supply chain finance industries are worth an estimated $1 trillion and $12 trillion a year, respectively, with the former still a highly fragmented market in which the top ten forwarders globally control just 43%.
Many of the logistics incumbents have been slow to digitise, and with fewer than 30% of shippers being satisfied with the customer service they receive, the industry is ripe for disruption.
Many of the issues surrounding digitisation in ports and the wider maritime sector were discussed at a recent Port Technology International webinar – End-to-End Supply Chain: The Real Value of Port Digitisation.