Zencargo, a London-based digital freight forwarder, raises €35 million

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Today Zencargo, a London-based digital freight forwarder enabling organisations (from FTSE 100 businesses to fast-growing startups) to make smarter decisions through a real-time overview of their supply chain, has raised around €35 million in Series B financing.

Led by Digital+ Partners, and with participation from existing investors including HV Capital, Zencargo will use this latest round of funding to significantly grow its team – from 150 to 350 people over the next two years – and further expand internationally, to the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and the US. Zencargo has now raised a total of around €49 million, and is targeting revenues of over €115 million for this year, and over €230 million for 2022.

Zencargo is a digital freight forwarder moving sea, air and road cargo, enabling businesses to be more efficient, accurate, and sustainable in their logistics operations.

Relied upon by the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Swoon Furniture, Farfetch, and Soho Home, Zencargo not only handles all the necessary components of transporting goods, from point of production to end-customer, including warehousing, packing, documentation, and customs clearance, but also provides complete visibility of the supply chain down to the item level.

Founded in 2017 by Alex Hersham (CEO), Richard Fattal (CCO), and Jan Riethmayer, in the past year, Zencargo has more than doubled its headcount to 150 (from 65 at the beginning of 2020).

Zencargo empowers clients to make data-backed decisions that on average drive up to a 4% increase in revenues, a 9% reduction in carbon emissions, a 6% reduction in transportation costs, and a 15% improvement in working capital, because supply-chain teams can focus on ordering and moving only the products they need at any given moment.

Despite the huge volume of goods moved every year, many traditional freight forwarders still rely on time-consuming, manual processes, using paper, spreadsheets and email. The unprecedented levels of disruption caused by Brexit, the Suez Canal blockage, and the COVID-19 pandemic – which has combined a supply side issue (due to closed factories and port employees being off sick) with a sharp uptick in demand (from consumers stuck at home and shopping online) – have created further complications.

“With global freight reliability so low as a result of the pandemic, Brexit, and even the Suez Canal delays, it’s more important than ever for businesses to make informed supply-chain decisions that will enable them to serve and satisfy their customers, and Zencargo is the perfect partner to help them do that,” commented Zencargo CEO and co-founder Alex Hersham.

In the case of the recent Suez Canal blockage, Zencargo was able to create a live dashboard mapping its customers’ shipments with vessels that were affected by the blockage, then worked directly with affected customers to arrange mitigations and alternative plans.

Through Zencargo’s freight forwarding and a comprehensive, real-time overview of the status of each shipment, businesses understand where all their inventory is, where it needs to go, and what needs to happen to get it there. Since Zencargo’s technology platform connects directly with global transportation markets and manufacturers, customers can see a full digital picture of the freight environment, helping them make improvements and transport cargo more efficiently. Zencargo also presents customers with information on their carbon footprint, enabling them to choose to reduce and offset emissions.

Given the different needs for shipping different products (for example, furniture versus cosmetics), Zencargo works with customers to understand what is important based on their unique circumstances, and deliver actionable advice. For example, one company might decide it worthwhile to pay higher shipping rates to quickly service demand and avoid any reputational damage that a delay could cause. Another company, with tighter margins, might prefer to accept an increased lead time and avoid impacting their bottom line. Zencargo helps supply-chain teams weigh up these decisions, balancing their priorities for customer service, cost and sustainability.

“We pride ourselves on the outstanding service we provide to customers, combining unrivalled industry experience and know-how with purpose-built technology so that our customers’ inbound supply chains are run in a far more sustainable and efficient way, enabling them to maximise growth,” continued Alex Hersham. “This funding comes at a time of significant growth for the business, and will enable us to grow our team and operations and provide critical support to even more clients.”

“The freight industry has struggled to keep pace with innovation. Archaic processes are still in place across the board, resulting in widespread inefficiencies,” commented Patrick Beitel, Managing Director and Founding Partner at Digital+ Partners. “Zencargo’s cutting edge technologies, plus deep industry experience and knowledge, are transforming the supply chain, and that marries up perfectly with Digital + Partners’ mission to back companies with best-in-class technology and exceptional management teams. We are honoured to join them on the next stage of their journey.”

“HV Capital is delighted to once again back Zencargo, a true leader in the supply-chain management sector,” said Dr. Christian Saller, General Partner at HV Capital. “The growth of the company, in terms of customer acquisition, headcount, and product development, has been remarkable, and that is down to the world-class leadership team at the helm.”

In addition to expanding its team and operations, Zencargo will use this funding to make inroads into Trade Finance, under the leadership of its newly appointed CFO, Chris Greenacre, who has joined from B2B lending giant Sonovate. Previously, Chris was a Director at PwC, overseeing TSB and Metro Bank’s IPOs, the merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, and BT’s acquisition of EE.