Yesterday, FourKites announced $50M in new funding. You can read the full announcement here, but I wanted to take a minute to write a personal note to answer the two most common questions I get when it comes to a funding round: Why now? And, What are you going to do with the money?
Why now is pretty easy. The industry is really hungry for visibility, and that hunger is driving explosive growth for FourKites. This latest round of funding will ensure that we meet the global supply chain’s growing demand for visibility – and in doing so, put more distance between FourKites and all of the companies who have followed us into this software category we created.
When I say the global supply chain is hungry for visibility, I mean voracious. That comes from doing business in such a complex, challenging and fragmented marketplace. There are an estimated half a million trucking companies on the roadways in the U.S. alone, a multitude of retailers and a ton of new technologies and telematics types. Throw in capacity shortages, fuel costs, intermodal, regulations and other complexities, and it should be obvious that the industry can no longer afford to do business in the dark.
In this context, visibility is an incredibly powerful innovation, one that gives shippers and their carrier networks the ability to improve on-time deliveries, optimize operations and spend, and ultimately deliver greater customer service and value. As the first mover in the visibility platform space, FourKites is experiencing customer enthusiasm and demand across the board.
Consider a few of these stats
|FourKites One Year Ago||FourKites Today|
|Tracking 1M shipments per month||Tracking 1M shipments every two days|
|Tracking in 9 countries||Tracking in 55 countries|
|FourKites in 4 languages||FourKites in 8 languages|
|97 Fortune 1000 Shippers||250 Fortune 1000 Shippers|
So, how are we going to spend the money? I’ll summarize along three lines.
Expand. First and foremost, we will expand the network, adding more shippers into the platform. We will expand our capabilities, so the market can expect more innovations like our Predictive Capacity Management (PCM) capability. We will expand internationally into more markets. Expand into ocean and air. And we will grow the FourKites organization to ensure that we keep meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations.
Predict. We are building more machine learning and AI into the FourKites visibility platform to give the ecosystem better predictive capabilities – such as predicting average wait time by location and day, better predictions of appointment times and dynamic ETAs. These new capabilities, combined with a growing pool of shippers and increased data sharing across the network, will yield more value for every single shipper on our platform.
Collaborate. FourKites boasts the most robust visibility platform available in the market today – and yet our greatest strength is our growing network of the world’s largest shippers. Our customers are indispensable to our innovation engine. A recent great example is PCM, which – as with so many other innovations – is the direct result of feedback we received during a customer advisory board meeting last year. Customer driven innovation is core to FourKites, and we will invest further in our customer success teams and other key functions to ensure that we continue to innovate together.
I am proud of the progress FourKites has made as a company. As the first mover in this marketplace, I have every intention of putting even more distance between us and the rest of the field. And I’m every bit as proud and appreciative of the collaboration and progress we’ve made as a supply chain community. Thank you to our valued customers, our employees, our partners and all of our stakeholders. Yesterday’s announcement is just one marker on the journey. I’m looking forward to what we all accomplish next.