Flock Freight today closed a $113.5 million round to accelerate developments of its algorithmic pooling technology for truckload shipping and logistics. The injection of capital comes after Flock Freight reached 12,000 in pooled shipments across thousands of shippers, a 296% increase between 2018 and 2019.
Roughly 80% of all cargo in the U.S. is transported by the 7.1 million people who drive flatbed trailers, dry vans, and other heavy lifters for the country’s 1.3 million trucking companies. The trucking industry generates $726 billion in revenue annually and is forecast to grow 75% by 2026. Even before the pandemic, last-mile delivery was fast becoming the most profitable part of the supply chain, with research firm Capgemini pegging its share of the pie at 41%.
Flock Freight’s marketplace pools less-than-truckload (LTL) and partial-truckload (PTL) freight shipments so they can be shipped via a full truckload service. For LTL, Flock Freight facilitates the travel of shipments on trucks to their intended destinations, eschewing the traditional hub-and-spoke freight transit model. In the case of PTL, which Flock Freight defines as a maximum of 24 pallets that take up to 48 feet in deck space, weigh under 40,000 pounds, and are headed to a single location, the platform finds as many as 10 trucks along a single route and pools them into a single truckload to maximize savings.
Flock Freight also offers instant “prebates” that lower contracted truckload rates when shippers have freight that measures 44 linear feet or less. With this program, Flock Freight automatically moves eligible freight with shared truckload shipping, ostensibly delivering same-quality truckload service at more palatable prices. According to founder and CEO Oren Zaslansky, who grew up with parents in the trucking industry and started his own trucking company in his 20s, the model is meant to stand in for more expensive forms of transportation, like air transport.
“In order to create shared truckloads, Flock Freight’s pooling algorithms sort through thousands of possible shipment permutations to find only those which are feasible to execute and economically advantageous for the shipper and the carrier,” a company spokesperson told VentureBeat via email. “The algorithms take into account origin, destination, weight, dimensions, commodity type, scheduling, and shipping cost, along with several other shipping constraints to propose feasible shared truckloads.”
Flock Freight says its driver network in the U.S. and Canada numbers in the thousands, and each individual driver can be tracked in real time via a dashboard or email notifications. The company says its damage claim rate is a low 0.001% and its on-time delivery rate is 97.5%. It also says it is able to reduce fuel emissions by up to 40% by eliminating the need to switch trucks or stop at warehouses.
Zaslansky argues that those stats set it apart from competitors in the freight logistics space. Uber offers a service called Uber Freight, to which it recently committed another $200 million as part of a major expansion. San Francisco-based startup KeepTruckin recently secured $149 million to further develop its shipment marketplace, and Next Trucking closed a $97 million investment. Meanwhile, Convoy raised $400 million at a $2.75 billion valuation to make freight trucking more efficient.
SoftBank led the series C round announced today, with participation from GLP Capital Partners, Google Ventures, and new strategic backer Volvo Group Venture Capital. Zaslansky says Flock Freight will receive support from Volvo’s trucking arm to advance the two companies’ “shared goals.”
Solana Beach, California-based Flock Freight, which has 129 employees, has raised $184 million to date.