Global

Overhauling road freight: our investment in sennder

First published April 9, 2019  

Freight forwarding is a market that is large but extremely fragmented, business critical yet lacking in transparency. In short, it’s a market offering significant room for optimisation, for both its suppliers and customers, which a cohort of emerging companies is now seeking to optimise.

sennder has rapidly positioned itself at the forefront of the road-freight logistics market, serving enterprise clients across the entire EU by digitizing an industry that has mostly been reliant on paper, fax and phone. We are delighted to be partnering with their visionary team on the next stage of growth, leading a Series B round alongside existing investors at Project A and Holtzbrinck Ventures.

sennder is a business both prospering in the current market and poised to take advantage of its digital, automated future. That is a testament to its team, led by founders David Nothacker, Nico Schefenacker and Julius Koehler, all former management consultants who met a decade ago during the kick-off of an internship. Having studied all over the world – between them across Italy, Spain, France, the UK, the US, Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore – they bring distinctive and complementary skillsets to sennder and understand the European market. David leads on tech, Nico on finance and Julius on all top-line related activities.

As a digital freight forwarder, serving the full truck load (FTL) market, sennder targets a market estimated at €100bn across the EU, the biggest segment of the €350bn road freight industry. It is not just the market’s size that is compelling, but the opportunity that exists to significantly improve reliability, efficiency, visibility and customer service. The current environment is highly fragmented, outdated and relies on multiple layers of subcontracting.

sennder has addressed core customer frustrations, notably a lack of visibility and limited reliability. With multiple intermediary layers, it can be hard for shippers to access information on their carriers. As the sole reference, sennder ensures prompt two-way communication, while its software also provides real-time tracking via GPS, a continuously updated estimated arrival time, and automatic notifications of on delays.

As well as creating a more transparent and efficient service for customers, sennder is also ensuring a better experience for carriers and their drivers. In addition to seamless digital communication and paperwork via the app, it ensures prompt payment and provides value-added services to their partners. In a market where shipping demand often outstrips supply, the ability to develop and nurture a loyal network of carriers, most of whom are small companies or sole traders, is crucial.

In a highly complex market, sennder’s team has shown a rare ability to combine crisp vision with operational excellence. Their relentless focus on product and customer needs has already delivered an impressive portfolio of global, highly satisfied enterprise clients. We believe that sennder’s value proposition and the nature of a highly fragmented and inefficient market positions the company ideally to continue building market share and lead the way for the industry on digitisation, reliability and customer service.

The team has achieved so much in a short time, and we are delighted to partner with them as their journey to overhaul road freight continues.