The aviation industry was hit hard by the pandemic with people staying at home and avoiding travel. Helping the aviation industry in such dire times is the startup cargo.one, which is a Berlin-based startup that offers real-time online air cargo booking. The company has now secured a notable €34.32M in its latest Series B funding round. It also announced some new developments, which could help in transporting COVID-19 vaccines globally.
Global expansion and COVID-19 vaccine transportation
The series B funding round of €34.32M for cargo.one was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, who were joined by existing investors index ventures, Creandum, Point Nine, and Next47. The startup currently enables its users to book air cargo online and with the latest funding, it aims to develop tools, which are said to utilise data and enable airlines to offer more dynamic pricing, engage in better route planning, and predict demand in volatile markets. Additionally, the company will add more products for booking through 2021.
Cargo.one also aims to onboard new airline partners to expand its reach and grow its global freight forwarders’ user base. Furthermore, it plans to expand its services into North America and Asia. The company’s Managing Director Oliver T. Neumann also adds, “As global distribution of the vitally important COVID-19 vaccine ramps up, we are expanding our product offerings to make all pharma shipments bookable across our partner airlines as the first multi-airline platform to ever do so.”
cargo.one is also one of the first digital air cargo booking platforms that have added an option for shipping temperature-sensitive products, which is expected to support global COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Cargo.one: The digital platform for air cargo bookings
Cargo.one was founded back in 2017 by Managing Directors Oliver T. Neumann and Moritz Claussen, alongside Chief Technology Officer Mike Rötgers. The company aims to build a global operating system for air cargo. Currently, its digital platform is said to process annualised volumes in Europe of over 110,000 shipments and 45,000 tonnes with 15 airline partners.
Lufthansa Cargo, Finnair Cargo, Etihad Cargo, and All Nippon Airways Cargo are some of the company’s air cargo partners. The company’s digital platform is said to make booking cargo shipments as simple as booking a flight on Kayak or Skyscanner. It also enables airlines to distribute their cargo capacity efficiently, and reach a broader audience while streamlining processes and saving substantial costs.
Surge in air cargo and digital platform
While cargo.one’s offering is quite simple, the factors behind the company’s growth are two-fold. First off, the pandemic has caused a notable rise in adoption of digital platforms. More and more people now prefer to book and pay for services online. Additionally, the startup noticed a surge in demand for air cargo space, with e-commerce sales claimed to grow between 25% and 35% this holiday season, over last year’s 14.7% increase. Air cargo parcel volumes are also said to be doubling over the last decade.
The impact of COVID-19 on the air cargo sector is also being noticed. Cargo.one says the global air cargo capacity has reduced by over 24 per cent as compared to the previous year. This has apparently caused the “biggest global air cargo capacity crunch on record.” As a result, Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines, for example, have all notably increased their cargo-only flights to offset declining passenger demand caused by global travel restrictions.