Convoy, a Seattle-based digital freight booker backed by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, closed a $400 million funding round to expand use of its data platform and other services that CEO Dan Lewis says reduces wasted time, empty trailers and even tailpipe pollution for truckers.
Since its founding in 2015, Convoy has grown to handle tens of thousands of loads per week, booked using its app that matches shippers and truck operators. Cofounder Lewis, a former Amazon executive with an extensive background in logistics, sees huge potential for boosting the efficiency of an industry that remains more reliant on Rolodexes and telephones than data science.
The trucking industry generated nearly $800 billion of revenue in 2018, according to the American Trucking Association, which also says there’s an ongoing driver shortage of more than 60,000 truckers. That creates incentives for greater efficiency in a massive market. Privately held Convoy doesn’t disclose revenue numbers or share details of how many loads it’s carrying per week or annually, though customers include Anheuser-Busch, Unilever and Proctor & Gamble.
Convoy’s got competition in the digital freight-booking space, notably from Uber Freight, which could ultimately become a bright spot for the profit-challenged ride-hailing giant, and New York-based Transfix. Other startups, like Los Angeles-based NEXT Trucking, are focused on modernizing freight hauling out of major ports, which can be even more complex operating environments.