List: The most promising startups in logistics

the logistics startups listThe logistics business is not easy on the startups. It’s regulated. It’s hardware-driven (ships, rail, trucks, air). And there’s a reluctancy among the big players to change their business models.

In short: 1) the whole logistics business is still living in the past, both technology- and mindset-wise; 2) it’s a very difficult arena to enter for startups; 3) once a few startups hit the nail on its head it’s likely to cause a massive disruption in this space.

Therefore, I’ve created the following list with the most promising logistics startups. One or more of the startups on the list might just end up making a huge difference.

Among others, Tom Stitt (also featured via Staxxon), Christian Vizcaino (CEO of Shipster, also featured on the list), Juho Makkonen (Sharetribe) and Jeremiah Owyang (Crowd Companies) have been very helpful in compiling the list.

Check out the Google doc made and maintained by Crowd Companies to see how the logistics startups have been funded. It’s pretty massive already.

Leave a comment below. I’ll review, add and credit you.

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Transportation systems

Matternet
Matternet is a transportation system made up of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), landing stations and routing software. The system aims to transform the way we move goods locally, starting with the pharmaceutical delivery market in areas inaccessible by traditional infrastructure. Click here to watch Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos’ TED Talk.

Freight rates

Freightos
A website – and a network of freight forwarders – that provides automated freight quotes and a contract management system for shippers.

Transporteca
A website giving shippers and consignees a much-needed tool to easily compare shipping and transportation prices from freight forwarders. The startup is Copenhagen-based and so far they focus only on moves from Asia to Denmark. But the service is rock-solid, and will hopefully include all locations soon.

iContainers
An end-to-end pricing tool and freight forwarding service offering best available prices for ocean and sea freight as well as international moves. With iContainers you can get a quote online instantly from multiple carriers.

Freight Filter
An easy-to-use service to help you find the best shipping options. It’s divided into three simple steps – get the price, book it, and ship.

Xeneta
A service that ads transparency to the shipping industry by enabling companies to benchmark their ocean freight rates. Useful for both importers, exporters and freight forwarders, e.g. for understanding the market and when negotiating prices.

Shippo
Shippo is “shipping made easy”. With the Shippo API and apps you can get discounted shipping rates and labels within minutes. Shippo is basically selling discounted labels when connecting shopping cart apps with carriers such as DHL, FedEx and UPS – making things easier and cheaper for those who want to ship.

ShipHawk
ShipHawk is a software solution that businesses can integrate into their shopping carts to provide buyers with the best option to ship any sized item, packed or unpacked. With ShipHawk, businesses and their customers access instant rate quotes for real items without having to figure out all of the details (traditional shipping solutions only provide estimates).

Veritread
Veritread is a heavy haul (transportation of oversized cargo) marketplace through which shippers can connect with and get bids from trusted (verified) carriers in this highly specialised field.

Logistitrade
An independent online platform where shippers can request quotes from a long list of freight forwarders. Once the quotes are in, shippers can compare, manage and book the shipments, ultimately helping them optimise their supply chain.

OpenSea
OpenSea is the first marketplace for ship chartering, enabling shippers to find the best matching vessels and cargoes at the best price – in effect connecting shippers and shipowners.

CargoHound
CargoHound is an online marketplace for international freight. Their tool connects exporters and importers with reliable freight forwarders and carriers – with the aim to reduce the time, cost and risk of shipping products internationally.

Cargobase
A platform for ad hoc freight where companies buy and manage freight services from pre-screened providers. It operates as a global network of providers that gives companies access to air freight services.

Shipwaves
Shipwaves is an end-to-end online ocean logistics platform catering to the needs of importers and exporters from India and globally in the near future. Shipwaves enables you to compare ocean freight rates and book your shipment online.

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Containers

Staxxon
Has developed a shipping container folding/nesting technology that removes the air from empty shipping containers so you can move 5 empty shipping containers in the same space as 1.

Holland Container Innovations
As Staxxon, also folding containers. But focused on the 40 foot containers instead of the 20 foot product market.

Crowd shipping

PiggyBee
A crowd shipping service. PiggyBee connects people who want to get or ship something with travelers.

Friendshippr
A crowd shipping app focused on getting friends to ship for you when they travel.

Nimber
A crowd shipping service enabling you to either send or bring stuff locally. So far there’s more than 50.000 Nimbers and counting. Nimber – previously Easybring – is based in Norway and so far operates in Northern Europe, incl. the UK.

UberCARGO
User’s first stab at a global logistics service – so far only available in Hong Kong. With UberCARGO, a van arrives wherever you want it to be in minutes. You can load your items in the back of the van yourself or request the driver’s assistance. Deliveries can be tracked in real-time through the app, the item’s location can be shared with the recipient and, if you want to, you can choose to ride along with your goods.

Roadie
Roadie is a neighbour-to-neighbour shipping network. Users create a ‘gig’, i.e. a shipment or delivery, which is then matched with another Roadie user headed in the right direction. Or as they say: “It’s like carpooling for cargo. Simple, safe and fun!”

End-to-end shipping

Shyp
A mobile app and service aiming to ease up the on-demand shipping experience. A ‘Shyp Hero’ comes to you, collects your items, then takes them away to be professionally packed and shipped to their destination.

ShipBob
“ShipBob is shipping made uber simple.” After you’ve scheduled a pickup a Ship Captain will pick up your item in less than 30 minutes. ShipBob will then – for a pickup and packaging fee of 5 USD – package and ship the item using the lowest cost option.

Flexport
Flexport is an end-to-end freight forwarding solution in the form of an online dashboard. Here, you can request a freight quote, compare your options, book your shipment as well as track and manage your shipments. Flexport’s services include air freight, ocean freight, trucking, fulfillment, and cargo insurance. The startup has been backed by leading angel investors such as Google Ventures, Bloomberg BETA and First Round Capital.

3PL

Shipwire
An enterprise logistics platform from which you can handle all your logistics needs in the cloud, incl. warehousing, processing, shipping and sales channels.

Cloud Fulfillment
Cloud Fulfilment is a UK-based storage outsourcing solution for smaller businesses. Cloud Fulfilment also handles order processing and delivery requirements.

Shotput
Shotput is a freight, inventory and customer order platform in one place – with the clear goal to simplify fulfillment. Users connect their e-commerce site to Shotput who then picks them up at the factory and delivers to the end-customers.

Fleet Management

Local Motion
A car fleet management system for companies making it easy to share vehicles and monitor the fleet after installation of an onboard module.

MuniRent
MuniRent brings the sharing economy to government by enabling heavy duty equipment sharing between public agencies, e.g. the sharing of excavators, street sweepers etc. between cities. MuniRent’s solution can be used for both internal sharing (within large cities) and regional sharing (between cities).

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Local delivery

Boxc
Boxc offers cheap 3-5 day international shipping to US buyers, and accept returns at a US address. Boxc achieves this by aggregating shipments, and choosing the optimal carrier for each leg of the journey.

Postmates
A crowd based local delivery app. Get your groceries delivered by a real person.

DoorDash
A local, on-demand FedEx in the SF Bay area, starting with restaurant food delivery, incl. areas where most restaurants didn’t deliver.

Deliv
An on-demand US delivery service, much like Zipments and Postmates. Deliv connects retailers, shoppers and drivers and provides same-day delivery of customers’ online orders.

Rickshaw
A local delivery solution for businesses in San Francisco. Rickshaw relies on a flexible delivery fleet through which businesses get their ‘own’ branded couriers at an affordable price. Among other things, Rickshaw is used for delivery of laundry, gifts, meal subscriptions, and produce boxes.

Parcel
Hand-delivery of packages in New York for those who don’t have a doorman. Instead of shipping to their home address, users ship to Parcel who then delivers when they’re actually home (usually in the evening).

Storage

Lockitron
A remote controlled lock and mobile app enabling users to store locally instead of using warehouses.

MakeSpace
An on-demand storage solution. MakeSpace provides pickup, urban storage, and on-demand retrieval.

ShareMyStorage
On sharemystorage.com people are brought together to provide a common sense self-storage solution – using space such as the attic, garage, basement, or spare room in the back-office. On the website you can either find or add storage space.

Keycafe
Store your keys securely at the local cafe and exchange them remotely with your home-rental guests via the app. Keycafe is not classic ‘storage’ but about managing access to your home remotely.

Swapbox
Shop online and ship your packages to a Swapbox located nearby. It’s a modern, always-open postoffice. You get notified via email and/or text message when your packages arrive.

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Trucking

Cargomatic
A platform that provides shippers with instant access and real-time visibility to trucks around them via mobile app and cloud-based software.

TruckTrack
A cloud app for trucking business management, giving instant insight into business KPIs, fleet and human resources. The app also provides you business optimization recommendations.

KeepTruckin
A mobile app for drivers to track their driving logs. And for dispatchers to manage their drivers.

Youtruckme.com
A social network dedicated to truck drivers. On the platform they can do everything from locating their colleagues on the road, plan their trips, and sell, buy and find loads.

uShip
An online international shipping marketplace where transporters compete for your shipments. You can ship anything – standard shipments, household goods, vehicles etc. According to uShip, their model means savings of up to 80% on national and international transport. Transporters also benefit by getting more business. And it’s a more sustainable solution too as it helps fill empty trucks.

Transfix
Transfix is an app for interstate truck drivers, allowing them to plan their trip, manage their loads, and get paid. The platform acts as a freight marketplace matching truckers with shippers.

Got Freight
A mobile app that enables customers and carriers to submit and track deliveries in real time. With the app you can see your truck delivery from pickup to drop off. Also, you can leave carrier feedback.

Truckin
A platform that connects freight forwarders with local carriers to improve freight forwards local network and flexibility while providing local carriers with additional volume.

TrucksOnTheMap
A UK-based startup aiming to reduce empty freight runs by providing transparency. TrucksOnTheMap have created a “TimeMachine” to look for empty trucks at any time, anywhere on a online map. TrucksOnTheMap is the first truck-availability-map which visualises all your and your haulier’s free trucks in the future, for a much quicker and more efficient truck booking.

Moving

Ghostruck
Ghostruck is a mobile app that matches you with a Ghostruck-approved mover. You can move almost anything, only using your smart phone. Take a photo of your stuff, describe what you need, and Ghostruck will find a driver – a professional mover – going your way.

Bellhops
Bellhops is a moving company made up of 8,000+ students in 121 US cities. In other words: Instead of hiring an expensive, inflexible moving company, you book on-demand through Bellhops and a number of local (affordable) students will come help you.

Lugg
Lugg is an app-based on-demand moving company in the Bay Area. Set up the pick-up location using the map and add a photo of what you want to move, then Lugg promises to have two movers and a truck en route instantly.

Schlep
Schlep is an on-demand moving service connecting users in need of moving assistance with a reliable, local “Schlepper.” Schlep maintains a network of movers serving the Chicago metropolitan area. A user simply requests a Schlep, submits some preliminary information (day, time, number and size of items, pick-up and drop-off destinations, etc.), and waits for the schlepper to arrive (with coffee, if desired). The cost of a Schlep generally ranges from $50 to $150.

Monitoring

CargoBeacon
CargoBeacon an affordable and easy-to-use logger device connected to an app and a portal. It enables you to monitor how your valuable cargo is doing. Simply place the logger with your cargo before you ship. The logger then communicates with your mobile device and to the globally available CargoBeacon Portal.

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120 thoughts on “List: The most promising startups in logistics”

    1. Impressive list. Glad to see so many venturing out into the entrepreneural world. Any thoughts on adding a category that includes truck component parts that better assist the trucking industry in the day to day….i.e…please check out my products TiroGage

  1. Food for thought. Agree that a few succesful startups would start a revolution for a very old fashioned industry. It will be interesting to watch fromthe front seat!

  2. hello from Istanbul and thanks for the above lists regarding logistics industry.I have just published a website kind of truckers,movers related search engine namely http://www.youship.org . As i’m not so good at designing and got no programming knowledge, any advise or any offer on co-operation is welcome.

  3. effimat.com is a Danish startup, and producer of automatic storage units. A new take on traditional warehouse storage – also the only Danish producer of storage units (yes, I work there) the concept behind effimat may cause massive changes in this business niche (re. point #3). Hope you will check them out and consider them for your list.

  4. Thanks for including NextMover in this list! We are excited to disrupt this industry. Let me know if you have any questions! I’m happy to answer them via this thread or via twitter @afkehaya

    CEO NextMover.co

  5. Hi Jonathan,
    Great list. Consider including http://www.xeneta.com – a Norwegian start-up. We’ve taken out the hassle of analyzing ocean freight rates by putting it in one single location with an easy-to-understand interface, so that companies shipping cargo using containers can start benchmarking their ocean freight rates on thousands of trade lanes. We’re already the world’s largest ocean-freight benchmarking community.

    Thomas, COO of Xeneta

  6. A few recommendations,
    ShipHero http://shiphero.com which is my company and is a warehouse management system which enables an easy to use and understand management of inventory, cycle counting and order shipping with the mobility and ease of use of iPods and iPads.

    One feature in particular that might interest you is Delivery Date Specific Shipping – get the product there the cheapest way that will get there at your desired delivery time frame (i.e. 2 days). Video about it at http://vimeo.com/107480742

    http://shiphawk.com

    For 3PL, FBA with their reach needs to be on the list. For 2 Day Air shipping they can get items delivered cheaper than many small companies could with their non-discounted rates and single warehouse location.

    Google Shopping Express. As a local store or online retailer I suddenly can compete with Amazon on delivery times within my region and it doesn’t cost me a penny.

    1. Hi Hariesh. I will certainly consider it. They have to be startups though. Also, I plan to review the whole list pretty soon. Are the categories right? Are the existing startups still active? Etc. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. Hello, Jonathan, I like the categories I think they can be a little more inclusive perhaps adding a category for logistic enablers/horizontals…a couple of startups in IOT space, automation not just logistic providers…but overall great capture!

  7. You should add http://fulcrumapp.com to your list. You can plot custom maps, collect information, and create custom reports easily. It has a free trial and the plans are pretty affordable for a field or road team. Worth checking out Fulcrum.

      1. Hi Jonathan,

        Our main market are spanish Latin American countries, But you should have the site looks in English when not accessing from a spanish-speaking country though…
        Will check-it out with designers. Thanks for the feedback!

  8. Please add ‘logistitrade’ to your list, thanks!

    Logistitrade.com is an online platform for members to connect each other and develop partnerships to further facilitate operations in an International transport & logistics environment.

    This process will help shippers to compare and understand offers and pay only what has been agreed to with their selected Freight Forwarders and/or Logistics Service Providers

  9. Drew, Is there any app/ Interface with client system for tracking the shipments of Shipper company, which will be taking long lead delivery time, about 70 days.

  10. Hi Jonathan,
    Very useful list! Would you consider including http://www.milkman.it ? It’s an Italian startup, by the creator of Viamente (now Workwave Fleet), that offers a wide set of customized delivery options, including narrow time windows and then fulfills orders through his own fleet.
    Thanks

    Adamo

  11. The logistics business is highly regulated and is still hardware driven which makes it difficult for startups to survive. However, a number of startups have created their niche and made their presence felt in recent years. Some of them are: – Freightos Freight Filter Xeneta Shiphawk Shipster.

  12. Hi, very useful list, thanks for updating so frequently. Do you may know the time horizon over which the startups emerged? It seems as en incresing trend, do you approximately know at what point of time that trends increase rapidly (if it is so?).
    As I am doing some study of the developemt in logistics and your list was the best I found!
    Regards, Julia

  13. Hello Jonathan!
    you should add http://www.cargomatic.com/
    UBER STYLE FROM A SMALL PARCEL UP TO 100 FULL TRAILERS
    By seamlessly connecting shippers and carriers through our web and mobile apps, we’re helping truckers grow their businesses and shippers track their freight in real time.

  14. Hi, we’re the largest marketplace for design furniture and ship hundreds of small and large items every month from various locations in Europe to US customers. Who of you offers a solution to make this process more efficient?

  15. who offers the best solution to ship large items (furniture etc.) from various locations from Europe to the US?

  16. Hi Jonathan,
    Great list indeed, and it is certainly a thrill to see our age old industry opening up to new possibilities. I do believe this is just the beginning of a very long journey.
    If interested, possibly add http://www.cold-truck.com, an online trade platform for used truck and trailer refrigeration units, as well as reefer containers. This unique tool enables global trade of these units which are regulatory exempted from the developed world, and highly required in the developing world. Cold Truck has brought the cold to the web.
    Rafael

  17. Hi Jonathan,
    Thank you for the list. Good to see, that there is something changing in the old school logistics.
    I recommend to add http://www.trucksonthemap.com to the list. We are a start-up from UK (London) aiming to reduce empty freight runs by providing transparency. We have created a “TimeMachine” to look for empty trucks at any time, anywhere on a online map. TrucksOnTheMap is the first truck-availability-map which visualizes all your and your haulier’s free trucks in the future, for a much quicker and more efficient truck booking.

    Regards, Tamas

  18. Hey Jonathan!

    You could add “Cargobase” to your list too! Thanks.

    Cargobase is a platform for ad hoc freight where companies buy and manage freight services from pre-screened providers. It operates as a global network of providers that gives companies access to air freight services.

    Cargobase aims to solve a growing problem in the logistics industry – under-optimised, inefficient, and high-cost ad hoc freight management. This process would improve shippers’ efficiency in ad hoc freight management – greater control, higher transparency, higher cost-savings. It allows shippers to compare quotes across their selected LSPs.

  19. Hey Jon, what do you think about an updated post on this topic? A lot has changed in this landscape since Jan 2014. New players and others on the list struggling. Some have changed course (and name) while others are just plugging along.

  20. I wonder how all this great crowd source work is going to keep the criminals from taking advantage of it? As decentralized as this is it could be a haven for the bad guys. So if this not closely scrutinized by the industry (as say the AMA does with their docs) we could find a heavily regulated industry again and just by the dot.

  21. Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and
    would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would enjoy your work.

    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  22. Hi Jon

    Great work, Very substantive and interesting list.
    Would request you to consider adding our company shipwaves.com in your comprehensive list.

    Shipwaves is an end-to-end online ocean logistics platform catering to the needs of importers and exporters from India and globally in the near future.

    http://techstory.in/shipwaves/

    We are one of the pioneers within the Indian Logistics space.

    Regards

    Shahid Israr
    Co Founder

  23. Very interesting list! Here comes a friendly request to add CargoBeacon – aiming to be the simplest to use and most cost efficient solution to actively monitor goods during shipment. Currently being tested and tailored for use by several bigger industrial companies.

    thanks,
    Olov
    co-founder and CEO of CargoBeacon

  24. Hi Jonathan ,

    Thanks for including Shipwaves in your comprehensive list .

    In a very short time span we manage to establish Shipwaves in India . In 2017 our focus will be to extend our network out side India . We are open to connect with other start up in the list to support each other .
    All the best .

    brgds
    Vikram
    CEO

  25. Hi Jonathan,

    Great blog with some very nice companies! Very inspiring.

    Perhaps I have another addition to your list. TenderTool, a Dutch startup in #logistics #tender #software. We deliver an effective and user-friendly web-based tool that
    makes logistics tendering easy and time-efficient.

    Visit our website http://www.tendertool.com to learn more!

    Kind regards,
    Ken Klaver
    Sales Manager TenderTool

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