Lessons for digital forwarders – What went wrong with Freightwalla?

Freightwalla – one of the many logistics tech startups that sprung in the last decade – has now ceased all operations. The Mumbai-based startup used to offer a full-stack online platform for businesses to plan, book and manage international freight shipments seamlessly on the back of various digital solutions.

The main aim was to help the users streamline their supply chain operations, with a focus on revolutionizing international maritime logistics. At one time, the company had associations with over 300+ active customers, 30+ shipping line partners, and served over 1000 port pairs.

In the present day, Freightwalla, which was initiated by a team of 3 techpreneurs including Sanjay Bhatia, has already fired all of its employees. As per sources, the company wound up following the unavailability of external funds and wasn’t willing to fund itself anymore. They were to merge with a tech company based in Singapore and the Indian fintech platform CredAble, but the deals fell through.

One aggrieved mid-level Freightwalla executive, on the condition of anonymity, told The Loadstar that no ‘official’ reasoning for the closure was provided by the company management, and many were not even paid severance.

The company proudly announced USD 4 million in Series A funding, however, fell prey to the volatile conditions of the global freight market. Freightwalla’s descent from being a promising startup to being wound down indicates the investors’ caution in funding approach towards startups.

Parallel to its global contemporaries and industry pioneers Freightos and Flexport, Freightwalla positioned itself as a one-stop platform, emphasizing pricing transparency and shipment visibility as its key selling points. However, as a general trend for many emerging startups, they could not sustain in the market due to funding constraints.

The experience of Freightwalla offers valuable lessons for digital forwarders and aspiring entrepreneurs in the logistics industry. It underscores the importance of addressing funding challenges and navigating uncertain market conditions. Furthermore, it emphasizes the need for sustainable business models that prioritize pricing transparency and shipment visibility to meet the evolving demands of customers in the digital era.

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