Entrepreneur Jin Stedge wants to fix inefficiencies in the independent, yet fragmented, trucking industry.
Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily
While we usually don’t cover rounds of this size, an uptick in funding for the logistics and freight space made us more keen to look at what it takes for a new startup to enter the market, especially when billion-dollar companies like Keep Truckin’ take much of the spotlight.
Stedge was adopted as a child by a family of truckers, and that upbringing led her to have personal insight into the weaknesses of the industry.
Her grandparents were truckers in the 1980s–and “40 years later, little has changed,” from a technology perspective she told Crunchbase News. She pointed to her cousin, Tom, who is a trucker.
“He still operates primarily on phone calls and mail,” she said. “Most financial tools in the industry are clunky at best, predatory at worst.”
TrueNorth, founded by Stedge and Sanjaya Wijeratne, offers software that puts “independent truckers under one roof.” While the company doesn’t lease trucks, it helps truckers have a platform to manage insurance, fuel and maintenance. Think of it as an operating system, but for trucks. It also helps truckers with route optimization, dispatch and load coordination, and automated tracking.
The entrepreneur considers average trucking agencies like JB Hunt as her competitors.
Currently, truckers have to choose between working in a large fleet like JB Hunt with little independence, or give up revenue by being a solo operation. TrueNorth claims it offers large-fleet resources, like those listed above, with a lower take rate than traditional companies because its back-office is powered by software.
“We cut down the busywork to 10 percent of what it traditionally is, so that our employees can focus on the relationship side of trucking,” she wrote in a blog post.
The TrueNorth founders previously spent time at ScottyLabs where they worked on autonomous trucking technology. So this isn’t their first road trip.
“Autonomy is really far away, at least a decade or two,” she said. “And it’s not going to displace truckers any time soon.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias