Berlin-based Forto, an online platform for freight forwarding, announced that it has secured $240M (approx €201.8M) in a fresh round of funding. The company has now raised a total of $360M in funding, to date. And with this round, it has now earned the status of ‘unicorn’ with a valuation of $1.2B (approx €1B).
The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 21, with participation from Citi Ventures and G Squared. In addition, existing investors also participated in this round including Northzone, Inven Capital, Cherry Ventures, and Unbound.
According to Luis Valdich, Managing Director of Investing at Citi Ventures, “There is a significant opportunity to improve global supply chains by seamlessly embedding trade finance into digital solutions. Forto’s platform is addressing points of friction to ease the flow of goods alongside the flows of data and money.”
With this development, Nahoko Hoshino will join the Forto Board as a representative for SoftBank Investment Advisers.
Funds to shape a more efficient modern global supply chain
The raised capital will enable Forto to further accelerate its goal to make global trade more sustainable. Michael Wax, CEO and co-founder of Forto says, the capital will also help “to significantly expand our geographical footprint, technology platform, and customer operations, to cement our market leadership in Europe and beyond.”
Currently, half of Forto’s customer base are using the company’s carbon-offsetting offer, and Forto has also implemented the “1+1 Approach” – a program in which Forto doubles the CO2 compensation of every customer to move towards climate-positive transports.
Karol Niewiadomski, senior investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers, believes, “Logistics is the backbone of global commerce, and data analytics, machine learning, and process automation will reshape the global delivery of goods and services. Forto’s centralised platform leverages these technologies to boost operational efficiency, lower handling costs, and increase transparency for their customers.”
Transparency and sustainability across the supply chain
Forto was founded in Berlin in 2016 under the name FreightHub by Ferry Heilemann, Erik Muttersbach, Michael Wax, and Dr. Fabian Heilemann. According to the company’s website, the team has a mutual entrepreneurial track record since 2009 when Ferry, Fabian, and Erik were among the early contributors to the German digital industry, setting up the local couponing marketplace DailyDeal. In 2011, they sold it to Google Inc. for over $100M.
Then in 2015, “the four founders re-joined forces and started mapped out what the digital freight-forwarding experience for the shipper of the 21st century would look like: a one-stop shop and single face to the customer that would cover the entire process chain from quotation, booking, document management, track and trace all the way to proactive exception handling and supply chain data analytics.”
Since its foundation, the company has grown its customer base to more than 2,500 and some of them include businesses from Europe, including Home 24 and Edeka.
Forto currently has more than 500 employees with 11 locations across Europe and Asia including offices in Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.