Freightos Buys Air-Cargo Rival to Boost Online Marketplace
The startup is looking to offer more air routes on its freight-booking marketplace, which launched in July
Freightos, looking for an edge in the crowded field of tech-driven shipping startups, is buying a database of air-cargo rates to fill a gap in its new online marketplace.
Freightos in July launched a web platform where retailers and manufacturers can compare shipping rates and book cargo transportation, a service the company likens to travel-booking websites. Before the launch, the four-year-old company had focused its resources on ocean and land shipping, but offered fewer options for shippers looking for speedier ways to move their freight.
By acquiring Spanish startup WebCargoNet, which maintains a database of global air-freight rates, Freightos can list a wider variety of routes and modes of transportation in its marketplace, said Chief Executive Zvi Schreiber.
“WebCargoNet have a very good asset, which we don’t have,” he said.
WebCargoNet is based in Spain and owned by its two founders, who developed the software program as college students. The deal is expected to be announced Wednesday. Mr. Schreiber did not disclose terms, aside from saying the offer was “part cash, part shares.”
Freightos is among the largest in a crop of dozens of startups hoping to shake up the global freight-booking market. The company has raised more than $23 million in venture funding, and its acquisition of WebCargoNet would be among the first such deals between freight startups.
However, online marketplaces like the one run by Freightos remain a niche service, with much of freight transportation still arranged by phone via human brokers. Most online brokers lack the scale of the biggest traditional brokers, and aim their pitch to smaller shippers looking for low-cost options.
Freight startups have attracted funding from Silicon Valley investors, as well as large global shippers and logistics companies.
Amazon.com Inc. earlier this year indicated it was looking to license or acquire technology to help manage its growing freight-transportation network. In June, DB Schenker, one of the world’s largest logistics firms, hired technology firm uShip Inc. to connect customers with trucking services in Europe.