Europe’s logistics start-ups are growing up

The news this week that Transporeon and Sixfold are to merge is threatening to kick off a new phase of start-up development in the European logistics market. It comes only a few weeks removed from the union between digital road freight platforms sennder and Everoad. The aggressive growth plans of the VC-funded start-ups, as well as the stresses and opportunities ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic, are certainly a part of the motivations for all.

Transporeon and Sixfold will combine “to create the most powerful visibility enabled network, with more than 100,000 carriers and 1,200 shippers.” The two share a history. Transporeon first invested in Sixfold in 2017, and this week’s deal will see the two merge as Sixfold’s real-time visibility offer is integrated into Transporeon’s network. As Sixfold becomes ingrained in all parts of the Transporeon business, the two parties hope a rapid increase in scale will drive the combined entity forwards while offering greater data transparency and visibility that could be achieved separately.  

The deal is a second significant move by European logistics start-ups in recent months. Back in June digital freight platforms sennder and Everoad announced plans to tie-up the two businesses. Speaking to Ti at the time, Everoad’s founder Max Lagardez said “The ambition is €1bn in revenue by 2024”, a lofty goal in the European road freight market. David Nothacker, sennder’s co-founder and Managing Director, it turned out, had also independently set the milestone, a key point in development by which both have come to believe there will be clear winners in European road freight’s digitalisation.

The market for digital platforms is very different from Transporeon and Sixfold’s visibility-led efforts, but the deals are a sign of a growing maturity amongst Europe’s leading logistics start-ups. The latest deals across Europe appear to be the first signs that the region’s generation of logistics start-ups are coming of age. It’s likely that the next 18 months will see a big shift in the market.

More than $12bn in funding was fed into logistics start-ups in 2019 – including a $70m series C round for sennder. The aggressive growth plans that come with large venture capital rounds demand relentless progression and the returns have to be high. Achieving ambitions such as sennder’s plans to become a billion euro company in the coming years – a vision which united its founders – requires rapid progression through the various stages of corporate growth. The next 18 months will show which start-ups can keep up the required pace.

Source: Transport Intelligence, 03 September 2020

Author: Nick Bailey


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