After a serious drought in public listings in 2022, Israel-based freight booking platform Freightos is preparing to go public via a deal with a special-purpose acquisition company on Thursday in what would be the first SPAC merger to list this year.
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With companies continuing to struggle to raise late-stage capital in the private markets, it’s likely some others will look to SPACs — which have committed investors — as a way to bridge the gap.
“We’re going public primarily as a way of raising money,” Freightos CEO Zvi Schreiber told Crunchbase News prior to listing. “It’s not because we are trying to exit or sell shares, or be in a hurry to be a public company. It’s a good way to raise capital right now.”
Jerusalem-based Freightos is valued at $500 million and raised around $80 million via the listing. The company had announced its merger with Denver-based Gesher Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: GIAC) on May 31, 2021. As part of the merger, Gesher CEO Ezra Gardner will join Freightos’ board.
“A SPAC is actually superior from my perspective to an IPO,” Schreiber said, as “it’s bringing us high-quality long-term investors who are going to be real partners.”
One of those investors is London-based M&G Investments, which — along with other leading investors as well as executives and employees — agreed to a two-year lockup, with some unlocking at six months, one year and 18 months. Unlike with an IPO process, Freightos’ leading SPAC investors have built a relationship with the company and are not investing with an eye for an IPO pop to make a quick return.
Prior to the SPAC listing, Freightos had raised $118 million, according to Crunchbase data. Its leading investors include Qatar Airways, FedEx, the Singapore Stock Exchange and the American-Israeli venture capital firms Aleph and MoreVC.
Streamlining container shipments
Freightos aims to make booking large freight transport as streamlined as booking a flight. Part of the reason it’s taken so long for the freight industry to digitize is that “cargo doesn’t walk itself onto the plane and off the plane and through customs,” said Schreiber.
Freightos has built not just a price comparison, but also a routing engine, he said.
Its platform brings together three parts of the ecosystem: The importer and exporters, the freight forwarders who handle the cargo, and the carriers — the airlines and ocean liners.
Freightos is multinational with its biggest offices in Jerusalem, Barcelona and Romala in the Palestinian territories. Its revenue in 2022 was around $20 million, according to the company. It expects booking in 2023 to be over $1 billion.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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