New York-based Waybridge locked up a $30 million Series B as supply chain disruptions from the Suez Canal to the pandemic continue to dominate headlines.
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Waybridge is helping digitize the supply chain for its customers. Its platform allows companies to buy and sell raw materials, while offering visibility into their inventory. Clients can track shipments, make changes and automate many manual processes that can slow the process down.
“Waybridge has solved a massive problem for commodity trading companies who lack visibility into their supply chains,” said Bryan Rosenblatt, partner at Craft Ventures. ”Traders still use physical pieces of paper, Excel and sometimes even whiteboards to track the movement of billions of dollars’ worth of commodities.”
Looking for something new
Digitizing the supply chain is a long way away from the world of adtech, but after Brian O’Kelley sold AppNexus for a reported $1.6 billion to AT&T in 2018 he was looking for something different — and also similar in the sense of being difficult.
“I wanted something that was going to have a real impact on the world and had really hard, complex problems,” O’Kelley said.
When a commodities trader introduced him to the world of raw materials and the lack of technology in the sector, he was sold.
“The more I dug into it, the more I was curious,” he said.
Ready to launch
The 30-person company went live with its first customer in April, helping the client with receiving, tracking and buying of refined copper. Waybridge will first concentrate on the industrial metals category as it onboards shippers and accumulates the necessary data in order to spot potential pitfalls in the supply chain.
O’Kelley said navigating those disruptions makes the new venture challenging and rewarding. From ice storms in Texas to canal catastrophes, the supply chain needs better visibility and management through technology.
Nothing may have illustrated that better than the pandemic.
“I think that made us ask the question — how do we become more resilient?” he said.
While it’s too early to tell if Waybridge will have a similar exit to AppNexus, O’Kelley said he likes the traction the company is seeing but adds it likely will take longer to build a company in the supply chain space. However, he sees wide open space to grow, with competition being mainly industry specific solutions and some investments made by SAP.
Rosenblatt is optimistic given the market size.
“It’s a huge market. The buying, selling, and moving of physical commodities is a $4 trillion industry, but the infrastructure that supports it has barely changed and is rife with inefficient processes,” Rosenblatt said.
“This is actually a similar challenge to what Brian tackled with AppNexus in advertising, which he sold for over a billion dollars,” he added.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.
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