Tech startups seeking to upend the business of booking freight shipments for trucks is drawing new funding from various investors, reports Wall Street Journal.

Transfix is a New Yorok based mobile app developer that has emerged as the leader in new fund raising – $22 million Series B funding, led by VC firm New Enterprise Associates. The new funds will value Transfix at more than $75 million.

The company is one of several startups that have received significant venture capital funding as they look to challenge established, old-line freight brokerages.

Companies such as Los Angeles based Cargomatic Inc., San Francisco’s Trucker Path Inc., and Austin’s uShip offer smartphone apps that connect companies looking to ship goods to truck drivers. Many describe themselves as the “Uber of trucking”, referring to the Ubernization of industries as pioneered by Uber taxis.

Traditionally, truckers relied on lists of shipments posted at truck stops known as “load boards” and networks of freight brokers reached by phone to find shipments. More recently, load boards have migrated online.

Mobile apps are the latest development in the shipping field, and tech investors have jumped on board. For instance, Convoy has raised $16 million from the founders of Amazon, Salesforce, eBay and Uber.

It’s not just as simple as, you pick something up, drop it off, and the driver leaves. – Tommy Barnes, project44.

Mobile apps for trucking make sense for local trucking, where deliveries are short and relatively routine, but that they would need larger scale to compete with established brokerages for national business. Large scale brokers are not overly concerned about the Uber for trucking models. It doesn’t have the reach to disrupt the industry just yet.

Models such as these are not common yet in Southeast Asia. Truck companies in Thailand for example, are still operating in a very local, offline strategies. There has not been a demand for instant freight services, although that may be subject to change once the logistics industry becomes more technologically dependent.

A version of this appeared in Wall Street Journal on July 25. Read the full version here

Mobile-first shopping and fashion discovery app, Goxip is in the midst of raising another round of funding to boost their growth in Southeast Asia. The app targets over a million downloads in 2016, both from its home market Hong Kong and the newly launched market, Malaysia. The next funding will be notably larger as the company plans to launches a marketplace and expanding to a new market.

Earlier this year, Goxip raised a seed round of $1.6 million, one of the largest in Southeast Asia, but the team anticipates the cash run to shorten as their growth speeds up.

“Our next phase is to develop a marketplace and execute that in the next two months, or less. We are looking to partner with local designers and retailers as well,” Juliette Gimenez, Goxip CEO and co-founder said during a press conference. “We don’t have a fixed runway for what we raised, but we may be utilising the funds to grow faster than we originally expected.”

Goxip is Raising Fund to Build a Marketplace


Goxip Marketplace

Goxip’s marketplace will be built for merchants and individuals to run their own online stores. They have also been eyeing Thailand and Indonesia as potentially new markets, but the team said 2016 will largely focus on growing its business in Hong Kong and Malaysia. The team is also aggressively hiring to pull off its growth plans.

The Hong Kong-based startup announced a $1.62 million seed funding in May, led by first-time tech startup investor, and socialite entrepreneur Chryseis Tan who committed $1.5 million for a 30% stake in the startup. Another $120,000 was contributed by Ardent Capital, which has a track record investing in ecommerce platforms around the region.

Chryseis Tan is also the daughter of Malaysian tycoon, Vincent Tan, who owns the conglomerate Berjaya Group operating various businesses in food and beverage, retail, automotive, property and gaming, has been a key mentor to the Goxip team.

A version of this first appeared in Deal Street Asia on July 28. Read the full article here

Krungthai Bank (KTB) is launching a venture capital fund worth $65.7 million (THB 2.3 billion) in collaboration with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) to help small and medium-sized enterprises and startups expand their businesses.

The SME Private Equity Trust Fund will be managed by Krungthai Bank and One Asset Management Ltd. Out of the total investment,

  • $57.1 million (THB 2 billion) will come from Krungthai Bank
  • $5.7 million (THB 200 million) from the Stock Exchange
  • $2.8 million (THB 100 million) from NSTDA

It is expected to officially launch in the third quarter of 2016.

The trust fund plans to invest in three groups – high growth startups, technology-based SMEs and large-sized suppliers – that drive the country’s economic growth.  “We would like to make Thai companies healthier and help them to grow and eventually raise funding from the stock market,” says Kesara Manchusree, President of the Stock Exchange of Thailand. She estimated the fund could help around 100 SMEs and boost Thai economy eventually. 

Mr. Songpol Chevapanyaroj, senior vice-president in charge of the global transaction banking group at KTB, said that the venture fund will put in the money as a partner of the SMEs and invest between $572K- $4.3 million (THB 20-150 million) per business. The fund also aims to focus on SMEs that are in a strong position, those with a revenue of $11.4 – $17.2 million (THB 400-600 million) a year.

Apart from the financing, the fund will also provide the chosen companies financial advisory services, investment consultancy, and pre-listing management for those who plan to list on the stock market. In addition, NSTDA will provide other incentives such as tax exemption for research and development-based or technology-based businesses.

A version of this appeared in Deal Street Asia and Bangkok Post on July 25/26. Read the full version here and here.