Startups Barging their way into the Shipping Industry

The logistics business is not an easy place for startups to break into. It’s heavily regulated. There’s a few big players which dominate the industry, who are reluctant to change their business models. And there are murky waters when it comes to piracy and kick backs.  The shipping industry is one of the oldest in the world but still today 90% of commodities travel by ship. The global economy would not exist without shipping containers. This underscores the notion that it is still one of the most important industries there is.

Being such an important and old fashion industry, opens it up for startups to come in a disrupt life as it is known in the industry. But because the whole logistics business is operating in the past, both technology-wise and mindset-wise, it is a very complicated industry to enter for startups. However the potential to disrupt is likely if a few startups can successfully break in and deliver vastly improved service capabilities causing massive change.

So, if you are one of the brave souls with a startup entering the shipping and logistics space, then you might need to brush up on your shipping terminology.  Click here to review a list of the most relevant shipping and logistics terms.

Currently, there are many startups in the shipping and logistics industry.  These startups are looking at logistics in a whole new way. Even hiring practices are unconventional.  One way, Shyp is getting ahead in an age old industry is to hire people who don’t have any experience in shipping.  “It allows you to be naive,” Gibbon (Ceo of Shyp) explains. “If you were to [hire] someone who has 20 years in this industry, it’s like, ‘You can’t do this, this, this, and this.’ For us, it’s, ‘Why can’t you?’” quote from Fast Company, click here to read the full article.

The Shipping industry has a lot of catching up to do compared to other industries as far as investments.  Personal shipping has raised attention and funds this year with venture capital firms; such as,  Shyp and Shipster.  But Ceo of Shipster compares the shipping industry to Uber and people moving which has garnished billions in funding and evaluation.  He says, “There are a few billion dollar companies in ridesharing or ride-hailing, and we think that shipping is ten to twenty times larger,”  quote from Tech Crunch, click here to read the whole article on Shipster.

Fleet is a startup offering shippers and freight forwarders a platform to instantly connect with each other.  Fleet markets to shippers, consignees, buyers and sellers. A Fleet customer can ship up to ten times per month and they are actively looking for international freight forwarders. It’s free to join and brands can market themselves directly on the platform. Shippers will love this startup, but others might resent it.
Here’s a list of a few startups that have raised capital in the shipping industry, we believe this will likely grow in the next years as the industry is forced to implement technological changes.


Bellhops $15,000,000
Friendshippr $1,170,000
LaLaMove $10,000,000
Roadie $10,000,000

Drop off

in talks 2016


Shyp $62,100,000
Trucker Path $21,500,000
Shipping Total $119,770,000

Here is a list of shipping startups that are making the shipping industry turn their hulls.



Has developed a shipping container folding/nesting technology that removes the air from empty shipping containers so you can move 5 empty shipping containers in the same space as 1.

Holland Container Innovations
As Staxxon, also folding containers. But focused on the 40 foot containers instead of the 20 foot product market.

Crowd shipping

A network of more than 5000 private drivers in all the major cities in the US. A driver will post his or her driving route and get notified of any delivery requests. According to Barnacle, senders can save up to 75% off commercial shipping and freight prices – and provide their treasured possessions with a safer ride.

A crowd shipping service enabling you to either send or bring stuff locally. So far there’s more than 50.000 Nimbers and counting. Nimber – previously Easybring – is based in Norway and so far operates in Northern Europe, incl. the UK.


User’s first stab at a global logistics service – so far only available in Hong Kong. With UberCARGO, a van arrives wherever you want it to be in minutes. You can load your items in the back of the van yourself or request the driver’s assistance. Deliveries can be tracked in real-time through the app, the item’s location can be shared with the recipient and, if you want to, you can choose to ride along with your goods.

End-to-end shipping

A logistics service network for local and long distance shipping. Take a picture of anything, a Shipster Agent picks up and takes care of everything else (including packaging, documentation and shipping through partners).

A mobile app and service aiming to ease up the on-demand shipping experience. A ‘Shyp Hero’ comes to you, collects your items, then takes them away to be professionally packed and shipped to their destination.

“ShipBob is shipping made uber simple.” After you’ve scheduled a pickup a Ship Captain will pick up your item in less than 30 minutes. ShipBob will then – for a pickup and packaging fee of 5 USD – package and ship the item using the lowest cost option.

Flexport is an end-to-end freight forwarding solution in the form of an online dashboard. Here, you can request a freight quote, compare your options, book your shipment as well as track and manage your shipments. Flexport’s services include air freight, ocean freight, trucking, fulfillment, and cargo insurance. The startup has been backed by leading angel investors such as Google Ventures, Bloomberg BETA and First Round Capital.

Shipwise provides a web platform for small and medium companies seeking a way to book and manage all of their global freight shipments. This is done via an online dashboard with support from a team that manages the movement of goods from end-to-end. Shippers get the supply chain visibility and analytics to make better decisions.

Freight rates

Here is a A website – and a network of freight forwarders – that provides automated freight quotes and a contract management system for shippers.

A website giving shippers and consignees a much-needed tool to easily compare shipping and transportation prices from freight forwarders. The startup is Copenhagen-based and so far they focus only on moves from Asia to Denmark. But the service is rock-solid, and will hopefully include all locations soon.

An end-to-end pricing tool and freight forwarding service offering best available prices for ocean and sea freight as well as international moves. With iContainers you can get a quote online instantly from multiple carriers.

Freight Filter
An easy-to-use service to help you find the best shipping options. It’s divided into three simple steps – get the price, book it, and ship.

A service that ads transparency to the shipping industry by enabling companies to benchmark their ocean freight rates. Useful for both importers, exporters and freight forwarders, e.g. for understanding the market and when negotiating prices.

Shippo is “shipping made easy”. With the Shippo API and apps you can get discounted shipping rates and labels within minutes. Shippo is basically selling discounted labels when connecting shopping cart apps with carriers such as DHL, FedEx and UPS – making things easier and cheaper for those who want to ship.

ShipHawk is a software solution that businesses can integrate into their shopping carts to provide buyers with the best option to ship any sized item, packed or unpacked. With ShipHawk, businesses and their customers access instant rate quotes for real items without having to figure out all of the details (traditional shipping solutions only provide estimates).

Veritread is a heavy haul (transportation of oversized cargo) marketplace through which shippers can connect with and get bids from trusted (verified) carriers in this highly specialised field.

An independent online platform where shippers can request quotes from a long list of freight forwarders. Once the quotes are in, shippers can compare, manage and book the shipments, ultimately helping them optimise their supply chain.

This is a partial list, the original full post can be found here.