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AI-Based Freight Forwarder ZenCargo Raises $20 Million

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Zencargo, a freight forwarding firm that uses machine learning to improve how large shipping companies and their customers manage and move cargo, has closed a Series A funding round of $20 million. HV Holtzbrinck Ventures led the round, which brings the total that Zencargo has raised since its founding in 2017 to about $24 million, according to Crunchbase data.


The London-based company will use the new funds to continue building software, Zencargo’s co-founder and Head of Growth and Product Richard Fattal said in an interview with TechCrunch.


Previous investors Samos, LocalGlobe and Picus Capital also participated in the round.


Zencargo would not disclose its valuation, or current revenue, but Fattal said the company has grown six-fold in the past 12 months. He said that Zencargo clients include large e-commerce companies, retailers and manufacturers. Zencargo provides integrated services for shipping goods to product fulfillment centers.


“Global trade is an enormous market, one of the last to be disrupted by technology,” Fattal said. “We want not just to be a better freight forwarder but we want people to think differently about commerce. Given a choice, where is it best to situate a supplier? Or how much stock do I order? How do I move this cargo from one place to another? When you have a lot of variability in the supply chain, these are difficult tasks to manage, but by unlocking the data in the supply chain you can really change the whole decision-making process.”


Flexport, a startup competitor to Zencargo, raised $1 billion at a $3.2 billion valuation in January, led by SoftBank.


“It’s such a big market that is so broken,” Christian Saller, a partner at HV Holtzbrinck, said of the global freight forwarding market. Right now it’s not about winner-take-all.”


ZenCargo co-founder and CEO Alex Hersham said that the supply chain sector has been slow to embrace new technology. “Failing to digitize the supply chain is holding back global businesses, with $1.1 trillion left on the table from stock-outs and inventory mistakes,” Hersham said. “Our mission is to change this.


Peter Green is an award-winning business and investigative journalist based in New York.

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