August 13, 2014
This week’s featured team is our very own office mate: Freightos!
The Freightos crew is turning the freight industry on it’s head, so we were excited to hear what they had to say about start up life, business lessons learned and, of course, team communication.
How long have you been around for? Give us some background.
Freightos is a B2B startup that is taking on the gigantic global shipping industry; a $4 trillion dollar market that ships 90% of what everyone eats, wears and uses. It’s a huge industry – $13.7 trillion dollars of goods were exported in 2013 – but it’s very traditional. Just generating a freight quote can take a full week. We’re introducing some much needed B2B connectivity, helping shippers and freight forwarders generate quotes in seconds.
Freightos has been around for two and a half years, but we’ve really started to sales and growth just over a year ago. We now have almost 40 Freightos employees on four continents, all working to change the way freight is bought and sold.
Who are your competitors and how do you differentiate yourselves?
There are competitors that do part of what we do, such as speeding up ocean shipping quotations or air ocean quotations… but no real competition is working on fully automating the entire door-to-door pricing between all shippers, freight forwarders and carriers.
It’s a very ambitious vision, but we’re moving forward fast. We differentiate ourselves by creating a product that just plain works, with fantastic customer service, and by not being afraid to push for innovation in an industry that has grown used to the status quo.
What are some challenges that you guys have faced and how have you overcome them?
Since the freight industry is slightly technology-averse, and our solution is one that does not exist on the market, we need to get out in front of the freight forwarders and show exactly how necessary our product is. Live demos play a huge role in that; when we describe our product over the phone or with sales material, many don’t believe that a solution actually exists. A live demo proves that it does.
We’ve also had some success by employing audits of freight quoting activity at some of the largest freight companies in the world (following their buy-in, of course). By actively demonstrating to them exactly what their problem is, using their own company as an example, we can drive home the issue in an effective manner.
What tools do you use for communication? What are your needs in communication?
Since we have offices around the world, it’s important for us to be as synchronized as possible. We’re pushing for a vision of online connectivity; we need to be as connected as possible ourselves. We rely on a combination of Google Business Apps, Skype (including some always-on cameras in our larger offices), Zopim (a customer chat service) and regular meetings, both virtual and physical.
Whats coming next for you guys?
We’ve got lots of good stuff ahead. Over the past year, our product has progressed rapidly, allowing us to focus more on improving our UI, rolling out more innovative features and selling to increasingly larger companies. We already have two global top-ten companies working with us and are actively looking to on-board other global enterprise companies.
Plus, we’re looking to take advantage of the Zula coffee machine as often as possible. Hey, there are perks in sharing an office with them.