Seattle tech startup Convoy, which connects truckers to companies that need freight moved, has raised $185 million in a financing round led by an investment fund connected to Google.
Convoy, which was launched in 2015, makes an app for truck drivers that allows them to see companies that have shipping needs – along with exact pay – and accept the jobs immediately.
The technology aims to make it easier for companies to move freight by finding truck drivers quickly, rather than going through commonly used middlemen brokers.
For truckers, the efficiency of finding jobs also means there is less time they are driving with an empty vehicle.
This big funding round will allow Convoy to build more technology for the trucking industry, said CEO and co-founder Dan Lewis. He envisions software that could make it possible for freight companies to assign groups of jobs at once, as well as technology for workers in distribution facilities that will let them prepare for incoming freight.
“As we started getting more into the space, we see many more areas where technology can make a difference,” Lewis said.
Convoy now has more than 300 employees in its downtown office, an increase from just 30 employees in spring 2016.
The funding round pushes Convoy to a valuation of $1.1 billion, according to PitchBook Data. That gives the company “unicorn” status, or a rare valuation for a private company that surpasses $1 billion.
The company doesn’t run into many other startups competing in the market, Lewis said, something he attributes to the complicated logistics of the industry. But it does have a competitor in Uber Freight, which became a challenger almost instantly when it was launched in spring of 2017, partly by virtue of its recognizable brand.
“I don’t think quite yet either of us are going head-to-head because the market is so big and we are both relatively new,” Lewis said.
Convoy works with more than 10,000 truckers and trucking companies, and 500 shipping companies across the U.S.
The company has raised more than $265 million since it launched three years ago. Its latest investment round was led by CapitalG, an investment division of Google parent Alphabet, and included money from T. Rowe Price Associates and Lone Pine Capital, as well as from existing investors Greylock Partners and Y Combinator.
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