Shell Ventures, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world's leading and controversially disputed enterprises in the oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry, has invested in InstaFreight, a fast-growing provider of digital services for forwarding agents concentrating on road transports. The cash flow will support InstaFreight’s plans to digitalize the utilization of trucking capacity on a broader scale throughout Europe.
Currently, Berlin-based InstaFreight combines the transport capacity of more than 10,000 carriers in one digital platform, offering shippers tailored support to book trucking capacity online,
including end-to-end solutions for their individual transport needs. This ranges from quoting, booking, to track & trace, including automatic notifications for digital document management,
the provider assures.
The 2016 incepted digital platform is now taking the next step.
Broadening the business spectrum
“With the additional funds (provided by Shell, hs), we will continue our rapid growth, further improve our technology and make our services available to more shippers and carriers across Europe,” states Philipp Ortwein, Co-Founder and Managing Director of InstaFreight.
Pact of silence
How high the investment was is kept secret by the partners. Despite repeated requests, both sides remained tight lipped about the sum Shell Ventures channeled into the coffers of the Berlin-based newcomer, leaving Shell’s financial commitment and influence in InstaFreight completely unclear.
This pact of silence actually contradicts the business approach of InstaFreight’s management, which emphasizes that through the digitalization of the forwarding business, their company provides customers with “full operational visibility and data for continuous process optimization.” A precondition enabling trucking companies to spot tailored loads with a couple of clicks, track their vehicles as they transport goods around Europe, and get paid fast and reliably.
Wide-ranging cooperation intended
Why the investor decided to fund InstaFreight is illustrated by Jermaine Saaltink, Venture Principal at Shell Ventures: “We invest in start-ups with technologies and business models that have a potential to disrupt markets and provide better solutions for customers. We have been impressed by InstaFreight’s management team and the traction the company has achieved in the market in a short amount of time. We look forward to working together with them and being part of their continued success.”
Further to this he stresses that the cooperation goes beyond a mere investment. “InstaFreight and Shell will work closely together to develop the best possible service for their customers.”
The pact offers both partners the opportunity to develop new mobility solutions and services, as well as to enhance and scale existing transport schemes. As such, Shell and InstaFreight plan to make use of the synergies and foster growth of freight brokerage across international markets, according to their press statement.
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