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Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, and Dan Lewis, Convoy CEO, shake hands with other Unilever and Convoy employees standing alongside. Photo via Convoy.
Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, and Dan Lewis, Convoy CEO, shake hands with other Unilever and Convoy employees standing alongside. Photo via Convoy.

Convoy just landed one of its most crucial deals to date.

The Seattle-based on-demand trucking startup today announced that Unilever North America, an arm of the multinational consumer goods company, will use Convoy for its trucking transportation services.

convoy-mobile-app-screenshotConvoy’s on-demand service matches trucking companies with shippers that need to move freight, like pallets of steel, for example. The startup has built a smartphone-based, Uber-like system that lets truckers find jobs in a matter of minutes without the traditional legwork — and monetary cut — required when using a broker.

Convoy will help move freight to and from Unilever’s vendors, facilities, and retail partners through its connected network of carriers. It will also help Unilever, which owns brands like Degree, Lipton, Dove, and more, come up with new ways to improve their supply chain based on flexible trucking options.

Dan Lewis, Convoy CEO and co-founder, called the multi-year strategic partnership a “major validation of Convoy, our model, and the trust we’re building in the industry.” He noted that “our approach is working and we’re excited that others are recognizing it.”

“As part of this partnership we expect to do tens of thousands of shipments for Unilever,” Lewis added. “Working with them, we can more quickly innovate and bring efficiencies to trucking that benefit shippers, truck drivers, and the environment, priorities we share with Unilever. We have been thoughtful in our approach and this demonstrates that customers can see the difference.”

Convoy CEO Dan Lewis speaks at Startup Grind in Seattle.
Convoy CEO Dan Lewis speaks at Startup Grind in Seattle.

Unilever, which is not making a financial investment in Convoy, evaluated other on-demand trucking service providers and ultimately decided to partner with Convoy. Reginaldo Ecclissato, senior VP of Unilever Supply Chain Americas, said that his company liked how Convoy helps improve the truck driver experience.

“We are very impressed with Convoy’s approach to technology-enabled trucking services,” he said in a statement. “Equally as important, we share a focus on driver health and well-being. Convoy has put the driver experience at the forefront of their proposition and delivered a progressive app to address many of the long-standing issues facing the driver community. We are excited to build-out this partnership.”

Convoy is one of Seattle’s fastest-growing startups, having raised nearly $19 million from the investment arms of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman; Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff; Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi; Dropbox CEO Drew Houston; former Starbucks President Howard Behar; Code.org founders Hadi and Ali Partovi; and others.

Convoy employs 60 people, which is up from 31 this past March when the startup reeled in a $16 million round.

Unilever, which is headquartered in Europe and employs 9,500 in North America, is also involved with another Seattle startup as an investor in consumer market research platform Discuss.io.

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