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The Uberization of everything continues with Seattle-based shipping on demand
Convoy, a Seattle-based on-demand trucking service, announced today that it has closed a $16 million Series A funding round led by Greylock Partners with participation from Jeff Wilke (SVP of consumer business at Amazon), Kevin Systrom (co‑founder and CEO of Instagram), Gary Chartrand (executive chairman of Acosta), and Mike Gamson (head of LinkedIn's Global Solutions Organization).
Also participating are angel investors that previously contributed to Convoy’s $2.5 million seed round in October. Joining the company’s board of directors are Reid Hoffman and Simon Rothman of Greylock as well as Code.org co-founder Hadi Partovi (who had been a part of the seed round.)
Convoy is the next company in line hoping to add an on-demand element (Uberize everything!) to trucking and shipping. Shippers access Convoy through the website in order to secure trucking capacity on short notice. Basically, if you suddenly have a few pallets you need shipped, Convoy lets you order truck space quickly and with less paperwork. Plus, it lets you track your shipments.
Carriers (or truckers) see newly available jobs in Convoy’s mobile app. To qualify, drivers must have a valid Motor Carrier Authority (MC Number), insurance, and a clean track record. The service is free to use for truckers, so I’ve reached out to the company to confirm how they make money. Presumably, akin to most on-demand companies, Convoy charges shippers and takes a cut before paying out carriers.
In addition to the new funds, Convoy also announced today that it is expanding its service to Oregon. Previously, it only served Washington state with a focus on the Seattle-Tacoma area.
“Convoy serves a tremendous need for the trucking industry,” said Reid Hoffman and Simon Rothman from Greylock Partners, in a joint, prepared statement. “In order to compete, shippers and carriers need the networks between them to be more efficient so they can operate faster and with greater flexibility. Convoy creates a connected system that massively increases efficiency, transparency, and scheduling, and this innovation is the future of logistics.”
Another company in the on-demand trucking space is Venice-based Cargomatic, which closed an $8 million Series A round led by Canaan Partners this past January.
And in November 2015, another freight shipping automation company called Transfix closed a $12 million funding round led by Canvas Ventures. While Cargomatic and Convoy happily ship everything from a single pallet to a complete truckload, Transfix says it focuses only on the latter.
In any case, the “Uber for trucking” space appears to be flooding with money, so it will be interesting to see how they compete for shipping dollars over the next year. Convoy specifically says it will use the new funds to increase development of its technology and expand to new regions.
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Transfix is an award-winning on-demand shipping marketplace for manufacturers and distributors. A recognized market leader in mobile-based brokerage, Transfix transports full truckload (FTL) freight throughout the continental United States.
Launched in August 2013, Transfix has raised $12.5M in capital and is backed by top VC firms in NYC and San Francisco, including Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Founder Collective and Bowery Capital. Transfix is headquartered in New York City.