Global supply chain visibility provider project44 announced it had received a $420m investment led by Thoma Bravo, TPG and Goldman Sachs, its third multi-million-dollar funding round in 13 months. The latest funding injection resulted in a pre-money valuation of $2.2bn. This is the second-largest valuation among logistics tech start-ups, surpassed only by the $3.2bn valuation of the digital freight forwarder Flexport. It was only in June 2021 that project44 reached unicorn status after securing $202m Series E funding. Since then, the company’s value has almost doubled from $1.2bn to $2.2bn. When combined with its $202m equity raise in May 2021, the company claims it has set a funding record for Logistics Tech enterprise SaaS companies.
Strong customer growth and retention, geographic expansion, and supply chain disruptions in 2021 helped project44 secure the latest funding injection. project44’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) for 2021, a key metric for software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, reached over $100m with a subscription gross margin of 70%, which is up 3% year-over-year whilst year-on-year bookings increased by 170%. ARR measures how much subscription revenue a company expects to receive annually based on the duration of contracts.
The company’s strong customer growth has come off the back of geographic and modal expansion in 2021. Throughout 2021, project44 expanded in Asia and South America and made several acquisitions to scale-up and increase its multi-modal capabilities. The acquisition of Convey in September 2021 gave project44 entry into the last-mile software market, including parcel, courier, white-glove and returns. The acquisition of ClearMetal in May 2021 served to enhance project44 artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data science capabilities. The acquisition of its competitor Ocean Insights in March 2021 was aimed to fill the gap in project44 capabilities to provide customers with multi-modal cargo visibility.
Another growth pillar has been the rapid expansion of project44’s carrier network which has grown to 140,000 carriers, up 60% year-over-year.
The company plans to use the new capital to continue with the expansion of its network through strategic acquisitions, including investing in product and engineering in its newest markets of Japan, Brazil and China. It plans to nearly double its investment in product and engineering in 2022.
The latest funding round is yet another example of investors putting their money into start-ups which promise to alleviate the supply chain headaches that continue to linger and plaque businesses. The real-time visibility market has recently attracted substantial venture capital funding and has become a well-funded and rapidly maturing market. This validates the high importance that shippers and 3PLs place on real-time insights into their orders and shipments.
Source: Transport Intelligence, January 20, 2021
Author: Violeta Keckarovska