Competition in the freight industry is heating up again. Early this month, Berlin, Germany-based digital freight-forwarding startup Sennder raised $80 million in funding to offer shippers access to a connected fleet of thousands of trucks and accelerate its growth across Europe as the business strengthens its position in core markets and further expands into new regions.
Today, another Berlin, Germany-based digital freight-forwarding startup Forto, announced it has closed a $240 million investment to enable the company to further advance its goal to make global trade more sustainable. The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 21, with participation from Citi Ventures and G Squared, and strong backing from existing investors including Northzone, Inven Capital, Cherry Ventures, and Unbound.
The latest round now values Forto at a $1.2 billion valuation, making it a member of the highly coveted unicorn startup club. As part of the terms of the investment, Forto announced that Nahoko Hoshino will join its Board as a representative for SoftBank Investment Advisers.
Formerly known as FreightHub, Forto was founded in Berlin in 2016 by Erik Muttersbach and Michael Wax. Forto is an online platform for freight forwarding. Forto develops scalable, digital logistics technology and services that go beyond transportation from point A to point B.
Since its foundation five years ago, Forto has grown its customer base to more than 2,000 customers and expanded its team to over 250 technology experts and logistics enthusiasts located at 9 different offices worldwide. In 2019, the company raised more than 30 million USD in funding from reputable VCs. The startup currently employs over 200 people.
Commenting on the funding, Karol Niewiadomski, senior investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers said, “Logistics is the backbone of global commerce, and data analytics, machine learning, and process automation will reshape the global delivery of goods and services.”
She added: “Forto’s centralized platform leverages these technologies to boost operational efficiency, lower handling costs, and increase transparency for their customers. We’re pleased to partner with Michael and his team as they continue to scale the business internationally.”
“With this investment, we are able to further accelerate our growth path and roadmap,” adds Michael Wax, CEO and Co-Founder of Forto. “In our effort to further digitize global trade, we plan to significantly expand our geographical footprint, technology platform, and customer operations, to cement our market leadership in Europe and beyond.”