Loadsmart Honored As 2017 Stevie Award Winner

We’re proud and humbled to announce that the American Business Awards (ABA) has awarded Loadsmart a Bronze Stevie® Award for the Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year (Up to 100 Employees). 

We started Loadsmart to upend the status quo, not because disruption is (or was) the going concern, but because we know that through technology there is a better way to do logistics—a more efficient, open, and human way to move things around the world. Recent milestones, such as our first fully automated truckload shipment, convince us of technology’s transformative impact on the industry, as well as our direction on as we re-invent the entire shipment flow—from booking to delivery to payment.

Of course, we are still learning, tweaking and improving; this is only the beginning and we remain focused on making our clients and employees successful through solutions that revolutionize the trucking and freight brokerage industries, creating exponentially better businesses across the supply chain for everyone involved.

We’re always seeking the best talent to join our growing team to tackle big challenges and make an impact. Visit our career site to learn more about the opportunities we’re hiring for.

Human Trafficking Tipline: New Mobile App Feature

As part of Loadsmart’s recent efforts to help end human trafficking, we’ve just launched a new feature for our truck driver mobile app that allows users to instantly connect with The National Human Trafficking Hotline to quickly provide tips, seek services, request help, or alert authorities—all without leaving our app.

“This is too big of an issue to ignore, and an important investment that we’re making as a company and as people,” explains co-founder and Chief Product Officer Felipe Capella.

Not just about “doing good” or “giving back,” the trucking industry is very much on the frontline in the fight against human trafficking, having become one of the larger demographics of callers to the hotline in recent years.

To learn more about how Loadsmart is working to help break the cycle of sex trafficking, check out our previous post or email us.

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The new Human Trafficking Tipline feature added to Loadsmart’s Driver app.

Working Towards a Slavery-Free Supply Chain

Last Wednesday, in an urgent and moving testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “Ending Modern Slavery,” actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher pressed the importance of using technology in the fight against human trafficking. Citing the significant impact a suite of web-based tools developed by Thor, a company co-founded and chaired by Kutcher, has had on rescuing victims, the actor called on U.S. legislators to direct further funding for the development of additional products and technologies to help combat modern slavery.

We couldn’t have argued it better ourselves.

We are firm believers in the transformative power of technology (we are a technology company after all) and its capacity to change the world for the better. In fact, this simple belief powers pretty much everything we do: fundamental to all our efforts is the creation of abundant value—for our immediate customers, yes, but also for individuals and businesses across the supply chain and beyond too. That’s also why in recent months, we’ve focused on identifying ways we can leverage our data, technology, and industry partnerships to help bring an end to human exploitation and sex trafficking.

That human trafficking affects nearly every country, in nearly every geography, is sublime in the darkest sense of the word, a clear affront to our common humanity. No wonder the UN calls it the crime that “shames us all.” And yet trafficking in persons remains staggeringly persistent, at once both nearer and more common than most realize. Victimizing nearly 21 million women, men, and children around the world, this modern-day form of slavery is the second-largest illicit industry behind drugs, generating an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits annually. At home in the US, trafficking takes place in towns and cities in all 50 states and places nearly 300,000 children at risk each year.

For everyone at Loadsmart, the moral imperative couldn’t be clearer: “We take our impact seriously and we’re dedicated to working for the common good and doing what’s right, in addition to being deeply passionate about building transformative technology for logistics,” explains our Chief Commercial Officer Diego Urrutia. Urrutia’s proximity to human trafficking is particularly personal: his wife, Kristin Pisarcik, was part of the award-winning team of journalists at ABC News that broke the story about America’s domestic sex trafficking issue and spent half a decade reporting on victims of the crime and local and national efforts to stamp out the issue.

What We’re Doing to Help

Current efforts, like the software developed by Kutcher’s Thor, demonstrate technology’s potential as a force for good and its power to disrupt human trafficking. Learning from and building upon these successes, our engineers are hard at work exploring and developing new features and tools to add to our products that will aid the cause. Currently, and notably, we are iterating through an update to our mobile driver app that will allow truckers to instantly connect with The National Human Trafficking Hotline to quickly provide tips, seek services, request help, or alert authorities—all without leaving our app.

tat-logo-transparentWe’ve also recently teamed up with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to help educate, equip, empower, and mobilize our partners—shippers, carriers, and drivers—to
combat domestic human trafficking. Since 2009, TAT has worked tirelessly to rally America’s 3.4 million truck drivers and members of the trucking industry to prevent human trafficking on US highways.

As the eyes and ears of the nation’s roads, tuckers have proved to be effective allies in the effort to halt trafficking. With the help of TAT, members of the trucking industry have become one of the fastest growing demographics of callers to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in the country, generating 503 cases of sex trafficking involving some 1098 victims.

We are proud to support TAT’s impactful work to combat this crime and look forward to partnering with others in the industry as we put the brakes on child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

— Gordon Bottomley

Update: March 1, 2017
This post has been updated to reflect new data released on the number of sex trafficking cases and victims reported to the National Human TraffickingResource Center by members of the trucking industry.

WATCH: Ashton Kutcher delivers his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on ending modern slavery and human trafficking.

Safeway/Albertsons and Anheuser-Busch latest to join Loadsmart

We are proud to work with our Shipper partners to improve the platform via technology, data and machine learning. The result is better speed, efficiency and shipment cost. In Q4 2016, Safeway/Albertsons’ usage of Loadsmart has grown more than 100% month over month. Anheuser-Busch is the latest retail giant to join the platform.

Loadsmart’s technology enables the  adoption of modern and more sophisticated supply chain management strategies. This “just-in-time” approach directly contributes to lean production and cost reduction, as well as making its operations more efficient and responsive to customers.

“We are true believers in creating shared value. We currently provide shippers instant bookable spot pricing for their truckload shipments, and we address carriers by offering them relevant business. We invest heavily in our proprietary carrier sourcing algorithm, and our aim is to provide the most suitable and targeted load for every carrier we work with. It has to be a win-win situation for both shippers and carriers,” said Diego Urrutia, Chief Commercial Officer of Loadsmart.

We continue to expand our team with a focus on data science, engineering and design, to build not incremental features but truly transformation solutions for the industry.

Click here to access our full press release.

Felipe Capella is co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Loadsmart

Loadsmart featured in Frost & Sullivan report: Startups Disrupting Global Connected Truck Market

Loadsmart featured in Frost & Sullivan report on startups disrupting the global connected truck market. After creating an exhaustive list of startups in the global connected truck market, Frost & Sullivan compiled research on a list of the top 20 performing companies—and Loadsmart is one of the companies that is included in this carefully curated list.

The study features startups from all over the world, and includes fleet management solutions, digital freight brokering, video safety and autonomous trucks as the major markets considered for analysis.

As the report mentions, this industry presents a $245 billion opportunity, with startups creating a 20 to 30 percent reduction in R&D spending as well as three to five years of reduction in time-to-market. And with more than 35 million trucks globally being connected by 2020, it’s more imperative than ever to continue to disrupt the freight industry.

The inclusion in this report comes after we announced our Quote & Book API for full truckloads shipments. Thanks to our team, we are now able to experiment, develop and launch products faster and more efficiently.

Our goal is to rethink the way a truckload shipment is booked, how a carrier is sourced and how the freight gets moved—and this report is proof of the desire for disruption in an otherwise incumbent, traditional industry.

You can check out the abstract for the report for yourself, as well as some key listed stats on startups disrupting the global connected truck market.

Interested in booking a truck in seconds? Visit us here.

 

Felipe Capella is co-founder and Chief Product Officer.

Loadsmart Launches Quote & Book API for Full Truckload (FTL)

We are announcing today the launching of our Truckload Quote & Book API (beta). The API will allow third party companies to leverage Loadsmarts’ unique instant pricing/booking feature inside their own platforms. That means that companies developing enterprise softwares could allow their users to check with one click real-time truckload shipping prices without leaving their platforms. And if they like the quote? They can go ahead and book a 53’ long truckload instantly.

That should streamline the process of reaching out to brokers, getting quotes, exchanging information and producing documents to secure capacity for a FTL shipment.

You should take advantage of our Truckload Quoting API when:

  • Companies use your software to manage their day-to-day business. You want to facilitate their lives including truckload shipping automation (quoting and booking a truck on your platform).
  • Companies use your website to quote and book logistics services like LTL. You want to provide a full online experience for FTL as well.
  • You are neither of the above, but you are looking to complement your solution allowing your clients to quote a full truckload shipment without leaving your platform.

The new API will help Loadsmart distribute its FTL product to a big number of shippers without relying on human salesforce.

This and other new features are a product of our expansion on engineering, data science and design teams. We are now able  to experiment, develop and launch products faster and more efficiently.  Besides developing new transformational features, team is also focusing on improving our pricing and sourcing algorithms, building integrations with different partners and automating even more operational tasks.

Our goal is to completely rethink the way a truckload shipment is booked, how a carrier is sourced and how the freight gets moved.

We are very excited about being part of an industry that will rapidly change in the upcoming months and years. Loadsmart’s instant pricing and booking will push the industry to start adopting similar solutions; cloud software services for carriers will be bundled together into a more robust and comprehensive offering for the benefit of underserved small and medium-sized carriers; API integrations are substituting EDIs; autonomous trucks are arriving soon.

In practice is means streamlined booking and on-time trucks for shippers; better loads, comprehensive cloud solutions and loading and unloading efficiency for carriers; visibility and predictability for warehouses. We can’t wait to bring it on.

Interested in integrating? Email us at api@loadsmart.com.

Check our full PR release here.

Felipe Capella is co-founder and Chief Product Officer.

From Booking to Delivery: Loadsmart moves first fully automated truckload shipment

 

Loadsmart has just moved its first fully automated shipment from booking to delivery: no human contact occurred between Loadsmart, the shipper, the carrier or the driver. First, the shipper hopped online and quoted the cost to ship on a 53’ dry van truck from Philadelphia, PA to Virginia Beach, VA. The system generated an instant price ($ 565.62 at the time) and the customer booked in just a few seconds. Through an algorithm our system automatically identified the best carrier to move the load – among thousands in our roster – and sent an electronic request to the carrier’s dispatcher (which we internally call a “live job”) with an offer at $525.00.

With one click the dispatcher accepted the job electronically and the rate confirmation was distributed automatically. The carrier’s driver was notified and downloaded the Loadsmart app. GPS tracking and driver updates followed from pickup to delivery, where the driver submitted the Proof of Delivery via the Loadsmart mobile app.

Loadsmart made no calls, wrote no emails and had no human contact with the shipper, carrier or driver. No sales or operation workforce was needed to capture the margin of $40.62.

This is a huge landmark in Loadsmart’s history. It demonstrates that technology can and will have a big impact on the industry. If you have read our previous posts about the fair skepticism about so-called “uber for trucking” startups, you know where we stand: Loadsmart is not your usual “tech broker”. We are a technology firm: an engineering and design-driven company that is researching, prototyping and building transformative technology for logistics. We are not focused on incremental changes; we have created a tech lab to re-imagine the whole truckload shipping flow – from booking to delivery.

Each of the automated steps described above contain a multitude of potential issues that had to be dealt with. For example, for a first-time driver to download the app in the Google or Apple store, without being contacted or trained by us, it took a huge amount of UX/UI design, feedback and iteration. We also have a a 24/7 operations team monitoring all shipments and ready to take over.

Loadsmart is still learning, tweaking and improving its system to make full truckload shipping seamless for both shippers and carriers. But this event tells us that we are in the right path.

We got here with a cohesive team by keeping focus and obsessing about transformative technology. This is just the beginning.

See the announcement video here and our Loadsmart Press Release – Aug 22, 2016.

 

Felipe Capella is co-founder and Chief Product Officer.

 

 

Are “Uber for Trucking” Start-ups Stalling?

 

In the past couple of years several companies labeled either by themselves or by the press as “Uber for Trucking” have launched their products claiming to revolutionize the trucking and freight brokerage industry. Millions of dollars were poured into these start-ups by eager Venture Capitalists that saw the huge size of the market and the historical lack of technology as a good opportunity.

It is surely too soon for a broad diagnosis on whether these investments will bear the aggressive return that VCs usually expect. But it is time to recognize that things did not go according to plan for many of these companies. What happened? Are Uber-for-Trucking startups stalling?

Keychain logistics went off the air around February (although apparently their site is back up). Cargomatic sacked both the CEO and COO after laying off half their salesforce. There are unconfirmed reports of layoffs in other start-ups, mainly sales and operations departments. What happened?

To grasp the challenges of the new entrants, you have to understand how start-up funding works. In order to justify a sizable investment, companies promise a new and better technology-driven product and an aggressive growth rate in order to justify an ever higher valuation.

But what happens when companies overestimate the power of their technology and underestimate the market dynamics all while under pressure by unrealistic burn rates? They face two options: (1) fail or (2) focus on growth-at-all-costs in order to justify the next funding round.

When companies survive this scenario by focusing on growth they end up becoming what they had promised to disrupt: a traditional freight broker with 2/3 of their personnel composed of a sales force and an engineering team purely focused on maintaining the system with no bandwidth to work on innovation.

At Loadsmart we try our best to avoid this mistake. We are 100% focused on product-market-fit, which we define as a product that is ten times better than the current market solution. Half of our team is composed by engineers and designers. And we understand that introducing technology and automation into this industry is a marathon, not a sprint – and we plan accordingly.

Before entering “growth mode”, start-ups should focus on building transformative technology, not incremental features. That’s what Loadsmart is doing.

 

Felipe Capella is co-founder of Loadsmart and Chief Product Officer

Uber of Trucking vs Tinder of Trucking

In his latest blog post at Talking Logistics Adrian Gonzales raises an interesting point: Are Today’s Transportation Tech Startups the Uber of Trucking or the Tinder of Trucking?

I agree that moving freight is much more complex than moving people and that the freight industry will not be disrupted by an app only. It is a much more complex industry than people generally imagine. However, based on the three musts for start-ups to succeed, we have to consider the following:

  • Critical mass: once a new startup offers a better way to deal with current industry issues, it only needs to demonstrate critical mass in a specific region, lane or market. That should be enough to generate a strong flow of investments, and that may be too late for incumbents to react. Remember when Yahoo made a $1bn offer to Zuckerberg in July 2006 – Facebook then was not profitable and was only 2 years old. Now Yahoo has just been just sold for $4.8bn and Facebook is worth $347bn. Incumbent 3PLs are nowhere as tech savvy as Yahoo, so when a similar movement happens on the freight industry the results could be even worse for the establishment. In summary, this may happen much faster than people think.
  • Relationships: we believe this is currently true only due to the lack of other exterior signals of reliability. Relationships used to matter if you needed to sleep in another person’s apartment. Now the dual rating system of Airbnb is so reliable that you can trust a stranger to crush in your sofa. Once a strong and reliable online community is built, personal acquaintability should matter less.
  • Quality: industry disruption will only happen once startups stop behaving like incumbents and start acting boldly. Each day companies that begun claiming to be “uber for trucking” end up with the same 2/3 of headcount composed by sales people. Same freight brokerage model with a better user experience and a lot of phone calls.

 

We are trying things that were never done before and we dedicate half of our headcount to software engineers and designers. What do you think start-ups need in order to succeed in the logistics industry?

 

Felipe Capella is co-founder of Loadsmart and Chief Product Officer

Incumbent 3PLs Will Not Disrupt Logistics

Erica Phillips from The Wall Street Journal brought the news that DB Schenker has entered into an agreement with uShip to use its technology in the European market as digital freight-booking platform.

Companies like XPO Logistics Inc. are spending millions of dollars to develop in-house platforms. Others have pursued acquisitions, including United Parcel Service Inc., which last year bought Coyote Logistics, a freight technology firm, for $1.8 billion. Deutsche Post AG took a €345 million ($383 million) write-off on a failed effort to create its own global freight forwarding technology platform.

These efforts by traditional 3PLs to “become a technology company” through massive investment in IT can make sense from a business perspective but will not create transformative innovation. Take XPO for example, which has focused on a great number of M&A deals to grow quickly and consolidate part of the industry. The number of different systems, competing softwares, conflicting APIs and isolated data is staggering. Combine that with the the fact that breaking down is not an option for them: there are thousands of shipments being moved every day and investors looking at revenues and profits constantly.

Therefore technology investment write-offs like the $383 million mentioned in the article should not be surprising at all. The reality is that incumbent 3PLs don’t have the risk appetite or the incentive to be aggressive on technology adoption, as still have to deal with legacy systems arising from decades of operations and recent acquisitions. Big technology spending disclosed by traditional players are more a PR stunt than an actual willingness to disrupt the industry. Coyote is another good example: it operates in an extremely similar manner to any other big 3PL: based on phone calls, an army of salespeople and a traditional brokerage model.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the uShip – DB Schenker deal. The european market has its own peculiarities, and uShip model looks more like a B2C than a B2B. But more importantly, uShip is focused on matchmaking freight with carriers and does not actually operate the shipment movement from point A to point B.

It looks like DB Schenker is looking more for a platform to manage its partner carriers and tender loads electronically than introducing an innovative business model on the shipper side.

 

Felipe Capella is co-founder of Loadsmart and Chief Product Officer.