If you thought every 18 wheeler you saw driving across the highway was carrying precious cargo, you’d be wrong. Many are empty, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
That’s the inefficiency and environmental toll that trucking startup Convoy is trying to eliminate. The company, which has been called the “Uber for Trucking” has created a “digital freight network” matching shipments with carriers.
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In the past year, Convoy has had two major breakthroughs to make trucking in the United States more efficient, Chief Product Officer Ziad Ismail said. The company has been matching 95 percent of trucks in its network with technology, whereas the traditional industry matches trucks to cargo manually–an extremely expensive and less efficient method. Convoy has also been giving truck drivers two or three jobs at a time instead of just one to improve efficiency.
“We’re not trying to replicate and scale the existing model, we’re trying to build something that’s very different,” Ismail said in an interview with Crunchbase News. The new round of funding will help further Convoy’s matching and efficiency efforts.
The U.S. market for trucking is about $1 trillion, according to Ziad, and there’s at least one other high-profile competitor trying to disrupt it: Uber. The company announced in September that it would be investing $200 million annually into growing its Uber Freight operations.
But Ziad said Convoy isn’t focusing on Uber Freight or any other competitor. Other players in the space either started off as traditional shippers or acquired one, Ismail said, whereas Convoy has been zeroed in on having an efficient, tech-first, environmentally-friendly model all along.
“We’re really focused on this mission on transporting the world with zero waste…what we’ve been able to build with this team really leads the industry,” Ismail said.
Generation Investment Management co-led the new Series D round as a new investor after first becoming acquainted with Convoy in 2016, according to Generation partner Joy Tuffield.
“This is a space we have researched and looked at for a number of years now,” Tuffield said. “Convoy was a company that intrigued us.”
Generation focuses on sustainable investments, so Convoy’s mission to reduce carbon dioxide emissions was a good fit.
“We are a firm that truly backs one kind of game in town…we’re kind of putting our full force behind making sure it’s a success,” Tuffield said.
Convoy’s investors include Greylock Partners, Y Combinator, Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff, U2’s Bono and The Edge.
Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias