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June 10 2019

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June 10 2019 | The Journal of Commerce 39 www.joc.com 3PL Midyear Review and Outlook Cover Story Special Report IF ANYONE THOUGHT that the $1 billion SoftBank and other venture capital (VC) investors plunged into Flexport in February was the denouement of the digital freight forwarder move- ment, the reality is investment may only be getting started. The next step of that movement is more regionalized investment in digital forwarders around the world, along the same regional lines as traditional forwarders. In Europe, for example, FreightHub and Barcelona-based iContainers have emerged alongside London-based ZenCargo, which nabbed its own $20 million Series A round in mid-April. In India, there's Shipwaves and Cogoport. In Central America, Mexico-based Nowports is following in Flexport's footsteps by taking part in the San Francis- co-based technology incubation program Y Combinator. Similar upstarts, such as Brisbane-based Ex- plorate, are taking root in Oceania. "No one has asked that there only be one player," FreightHub chief commercial officer Michael Wax told The Journal of Commerce. "This is not a winner-takes-all mar- ket. In Germany alone, there is so exemplified by the $30 million Ber- lin-based FreightHub snared in May in its Series B funding round. Led by the Moscow-based VC group Rider Global, the round brings FreightHub's total investment to $53 million, the second most of any digital global forwarder after Flexport's $1.3 billion. Among the investors in FreightHub is Maersk Growth, the venture arm of the Dan- ish container carrier Maersk Line. FreightHub, founded in 2016, is one of a number of companies to build a global freight forwarder with a systems-out approach, using modern software architecture to automate many of the rote processes forwarders undertake, a model that Flexport pioneered. But despite the global reach of these providers, more and more of them are developing Digital forwarders expanding regional reach through venture capital investments By Eric Johnson Show them the money

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