Forto raises $240M from SoftBank

forto funding

Freight technology startup, Forto, announced that it has raised $240 million in a round led by SoftBank and others at a valuation of $1.2 billion.

The round also saw participation from new investors Citi Ventures and G Squared, while existing backers including Northzone, Cherry Ventures, and Unbound reinvested, Forto said. With the latest investment, the company has raised a total of $360 million in venture capital

The company plans to use the freshly raised funds for extending its platform for arranging trade shipments between China and Europe, according to the Berlin-based company.

Forto provides a single platform for handling the journey of a shipping container from start to end—a chore long-handled with pen, paper, and post, said co-founder Michael Wax. 

“A shipment from Shanghai to a warehouse in Berlin should not be more difficult than a payment via Paypal or Stripe today,” Wax, who is also CEO of the firm said comparing the digitalization of logistics with that of consumer payments.

Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund II has made other investments in freight tech including China’s Full Truck Alliance that has filed for an IPO in New York that would value it at over $20 billion.

With supply chains stretched by changing consumption patterns and a steep economic recovery, Forto says its freight management system is essential for clients to maximize the visibility and flexibility of their own shipments.

Wax said that Forto had a client list of 2,500 companies. It is focused on catering to mid-sized businesses shipping up to 10,000 containers a year by sea, rail, and air. Bigger clients include online furniture retailer Home 24 and German supermarket chain Edeka, and commodities house Glencore and industrial group ThyssenKrupp. 

“We are building the digital backbone of global trade—90% of the goods that we have in our hands are either in a container or have been in a container,” said Wax.

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