Chicago-based startup Newtrul announced Monday a $5.3 million capital raise led by SignalFire and Flex Capital.
Officials for the digital freight matching provider said the fund raise will support its goal of refining the company’s customer relationship management process and the onboarding functions of its platform.
“We are going to be investing heavily in the software that carrier reps and truckers used to find each other and that will be ancillary to our marketplace,” Newtrul CEO and co-founder Ed Stockman told FreightWaves. “The marketplace is where the transactions happen — there’s a lot of free software that we can provide to both sides to make their lives easier, make communications easier, and those are the tools that we’re going to double down on.”
Founded in 2018, Newtrul is a digital freight matching platform that integrates with freight brokers to share available loads with carriers digitally in real time. Newtrul aims to reduce the amount of time and resources needed for two parties to complete a transaction.
Newtrul’s carrier platform allows trucking companies to enter the platform’s user interface to search for shipments across multiple customers for each truck. The platform is free for carriers.
“It’s 100% free for truckers. We don’t charge any carriers. It’s free to come in and register and start trying to find additional truckload shipments,” Stockman said.
Newtrul does not charge integration fees, posting fees or a monthly subscription fee. There is a transaction fee when a load is booked. Brokers and shippers preselect the carriers they wish to make their loads available to, and the remainder of the process is automated.
Newtrul could be described as the “Expedia” of freight booking that helps connect fragmented parts of the logistics industry, the company said.
“We know that folks out there have had this long-debated topic of the driver shortage. We think that there isn’t necessarily a driver shortage as much as there is a trucking utilization problem,” Stockman said. “One of the biggest components or variables of that problem is the lack of integration and connectivity in the logistics space.”
Stockman said not only is the industry becoming more fragmented with the daily entrance of new freight brokers, shippers and truckers, but there’s system fragmentation as well.
“There are very old-school legacy outdated technologies that don’t integrate — they are based on traditional servers rather than cloud-based solutions — so it makes integrating and connecting these systems very difficult,” Stockman said. “We’re intimately aware of the problems that go into digitizing transactions and the amount of time and waste and effort that goes into finding a truck. We’re aligned with the idea that the broader industry needs this connectivity, not just the more sophisticated freight brokers.”
Newtrul has about 10,000 active carrier users on its platform and is currently working with about 75 customers, according to a news release.
The latest funding brings Newtrul’s total capital raise to $7.55 million. In February 2021, Newtrul announced a $2.25 million capital raise led by Autotech Ventures.
“Brokers pay astronomical premiums to arrange truckload capacity manually over the phone, often wasting over half their margin,” Chris Farmer, CEO and founder of SignalFire, said in a statement. “Newtrul modernizes this outdated practice with its integrated aggregation platform that lets them save both money and time on matching freight with quality carriers.”
Along with SignalFire and Flex Capital, the latest fund raise included Bessemer Venture Partners, Crowley, John Larkin, Brad Hollister and Oren Zaslansky, CEO of Flock Freight.
Stockman said the capital raise was a little more difficult this time around.
“I would say things are getting tighter and that the bar is definitely getting higher,” he said. “For good companies that have a strong value prop and traction, there’s still plenty of money out there.”
|Funding amount||$5.3 million|
|Lead investors||SignalFire and Flex Capital|
|Secondary investors||Bessemer Venture Partners, Crowley, John Larkin, Brad Hollister and Oren Zaslansky.|
|Goal for the round||Refine the company’s customer relationship management process and the onboarding functions of its platform.|
|Total capital raised||$7.55 million|
More articles by Noi Mahoney