Berlin-based freight tech startup Forto raises $240 million funding from Softbank

Freight tech startup Forto has recently announced that it has raised $240 million in an investment round led by Softbank. The Berlin-based firm will use this funding to invest in expanding its platform for organising trade shipments between China and Europe.

The five-year-old startup offers a single platform for customers to manage the journey of their shipping container from origin to destination.

“A shipment from Shanghai to a warehouse in Berlin should not be more difficult than a payment via Paypal or Stripe today,” Michael Wax, CEO and Co-founder, Forto told Reuters, comparing the digitalisation of logistics with that of consumer payments.

With this investment round, the value of Forto is now at $1.2 billion and the total amount of venture funding has raised to $360 million. Also participating in the investment round were new investors Citi Ventures and G Squared, while existing backers including Northzone, Cherry Ventures and Unbound reinvested.

Forto, one of a crop of fast-growing German logistics startups that includes trucking specialist Sennder, trebled revenue last year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The startup believes that its freight management is the aid to the strained supply chains at these trying times as it helps maximise the visibility and flexibility of their clients’ shipments.

Wax, who is also a co-founder of railway technology startup Konux, said Forto had a client roster of 2,500 companies. It is focused on serving mid-sized businesses shipping up to 10,000 containers a year by sea, rail and air.

The larger clients that the start-up has added to its pool include online furniture retailer Home24 and German supermarket chain Edeka. Apart from these, the freight tech company has also handled shipments for commodities house Glencore and industrial group ThyssenKrupp.

“We are building the digital backbone of global trade – 90% of the goods that we have in our hands are either in a container or have been in a container,” said Wax.

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