Berlin-based cargo.one, the digital booking platform for air cargo, has raised around €16 million in venture funding. In response to rising demand, the company plans to onboard new airlines, grow in additional markets and hire 70 employees, tripling the size of cargo.one by the end of this year.
This Series A round was led by global venture capital firm Index Ventures, with the participation of Next47 and prior backers Creandum, Lufthansa Cargo and Point Nine Capital. They were joined by angel investors including Tom Stafford of DST Global and Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, currently Chief Operating Officer of GoCardless and former Chief Product Officer of Skyscanner. Martin Mignot and Max Rimpel of Index Ventures led the investment.
“Right now, booking air cargo is a long and cumbersome manual process, driven by a ‘feel’ of the market, and a short-termist, reactive approach to sales,” said Moritz Claussen, Co-founder and Managing Director of cargo.one. “With cargo.one, airlines are meeting customers’ increasing demand for an outstanding user experience, while substantially lowering their costs to reach new customers and revenue opportunities.”
As well as its partner airlines, cargo.one is serving more than 1,500 freight forwarding offices. From January to June 2020, it saw the number of air cargo search requests by freight forwarders quadruple. The number of quotes distributed in that time increased by two thirds, while in June alone, cargo.one made more than 1.1 million bookable air freight offers available to freight forwarders.
“The new era of air cargo is being driven by universal access to real-time data,” said Oliver T Neumann, Co-founder and Managing Director of cargo.one. “It’s essential that the industry has access to tools that allow players to both respond and anticipate market dynamics. From day one, cargo.one has provided freight forwarders with an outstanding user experience and access to real-time data. We now plan to accelerate the release of major product additions that will increase the connectivity between freight forwarders and airlines, and empower them to work more effectively together.”
In the next phase of its growth, cargo.one will expand to North America and East Asia, to fulfill airlines’ desire to be able to sell globally though cargo.one and serve freight forwarders around the world. It will also build tools that use data to let airlines offer more dynamic pricing, engage in better route planning and predict demand in volatile markets.
“The airline sector relies on operational excellence, but its back-end infrastructure is stuck in the dark ages,” said Max Rimpel, Principal at Index Ventures. “cargo.one’s platform doesn’t just help to bring air cargo bookings into the 21st century, but lays the foundations for a complete overhaul of how the air cargo industry operates, leveraging data to help both airlines and freight forwarders to run their cargo operations more efficiently.
Founded in 2017, cargo.one’s ambition is to build the global operating system for air cargo. Its intuitive digital platform makes booking shipments as simple as booking a holiday or business trip on Skyscanner or Kayak. Because cargo.one links directly into the airlines’ systems, it is the first product to provide real-time visibility of available capacity and prices, as well as additional quality parameters like temperature control.
The company already counts Lufthansa, All Nippon Airways, Finnair, Etihad, AirBridgeCargo and TAP Air Portugal among its 12 partner airlines, helping them boost their financial performance in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19.