Convoy already had an impressive list of investors. Now the young Seattle startup has even more high-profile backers that are investing in the on-demand trucking startup.
The company today announced a $16 million Series A round led by noted Silicon Valley venture capital firm Greylock Partners. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and eBay Motors founder Simon Rothman — both partners at Greylock — will join Convoy’s board, in addition to Code.org co-founder Hadi Partovi, who participated in the company’s $2.5 million seed round.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Convoy,” Partovi told GeekWire. “I haven’t seen a bigger market opportunity since 2005 when I got involved with Facebook as an advisor.”
Along with Greylock Partners, other new investors participating in the new round include Amazon executive Jeff Wilke; Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom; LinkedIn executive Mike Gamson; and Acosta Chairman Gary Chartrand.
Convoy will use the fresh cash to continue developing its technology and expand into new regions. Founded this past April, the startup is using technology to create more efficiency in a $800 billion U.S. trucking industry that CEO and co-founder Dan Lewis said has largely remained unchanged for decades.
“The problem we are solving is around local and regional access to trucks on demand,” Lewis told GeekWire in October.
Convoy’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.
On the shipper side, Convoy’s online portal offers immediate access to pricing information — which is calculated instantly based on distance, weight, and other variables — and available trucks, all of which are pre-approved by Convoy, licensed by the government, and carry cargo insurance. The company also provides customer service to ensure that shipments are completed.
The service lets both truckers and shippers book orders on short notice and track the location of containers in real-time. Lewis noted in October how this wasn’t possible until a majority of truck drivers owned smartphones and GPS technology was robust enough to operate smoothly outside of urban areas.
The company has experienced “strong growth” since October, working with customers such as Scotts, Skyline Steel, World Vision, and others. It also brought on an additional 15 employees for a total of 31 people.
“We’ve had a lot of excitement around the product, and we now have thousands of trucks in the Convoy system,” noted Director of Marketing Kristen Forecki.
Convoy first operated in Washington and has plans to launch its service in Oregon. The Series A round will be used to expand the business elsewhere, too.
Investors that were part of the seed round include Bezos Expeditions — the investment arm of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos — Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff; Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi; Dropbox CEO Drew Houston; former Starbucks President Howard Behar; KKR CEO Henry Kravis; eBay founder Pierre Omidyar via Omidyar Technology Ventures; and several others.
Here’s a joint statement from Hoffman and Rothman: “Convoy serves a tremendous need for the trucking industry. In order to compete, shippers and carriers need the networks between them to be more efficient so they can operate faster and with greater flexibility. Convoy creates a connected system that massively increases efficiency, transparency, and scheduling, and this innovation is the future of logistics.”