Chattanooga firm plans to grow to 100 people by year's end

Chattanooga firm plans to grow to 100 people by year's end

FreightWaves raises another $13 million

June 12th, 2018 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Contributed photo by FreightWaves / FreightWaves officials go over data at the company's Chattanooga headquarters. From left are Alexandra Quevedo, market analyst; Vice President John Bowes, Controller Andrew Mayfield, and CEO Craig Fuller.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

“Its a massive market. Chattanooga is well positioned.”
FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller

A Chattanooga startup that focuses on freight market data analytics has raised another $13 million in new capital as it plans to double its workforce to about 100 employees by year's end and to move toward what backers hope will grow to a billion- dollar business.

FreightWaves has raised about $18.4 million over its first two years, placing it among Chattanooga's top startups.

"Like our first two rounds of funding, this round was oversubscribed with high demand coming from both incumbents and new participants," said Craig Fuller, the company's chief executive. "We chose the funds carefully and placed a lot of emphasis on their understanding of both freight and the financials markets."

The latest investment round was led by early stage, San Francisco-based venture firm 8VC, according to FreightWaves.

Jake Medwell, an 8VC partner, said the firm participated in FreightWaves' seed funding and has supported the company's mission of creating a market analytics platform and freight futures market for surface freight transportation.

"We look forward to working with Craig and his team on building a billion-dollar company that will bring transparency and risk management solutions to the global freight industry," Medwell said.

Fuller said the company is investing in people as it grows its workforce from 45 full-time people and five contractors. He said the company is bringing in Ph.D-level economists and scientists to Chattanooga as it expands efforts to interpret data and forecast where the market is heading.

The insights help brokers price freight more accurately, allow carriers to improve routing decisions and benchmarking and permit shippers to project capacity availability, according to FreightWaves.

Fuller said the company, which is currently headquartered at 1500 Chestnut St., is seeking more space in downtown Chattanooga where it plans to relocate home office functions to "a more premiere location."

He said revenues are expected to jump from 700 to 800 percent year over year.

"It's a massive market," Fuller said. "Chattanooga is well positioned. We have connections in the space that allow us to bring in smart people."

Chattanooga is home to two national trucking giants — U.S. Xpress Enterprises and Covenant Transport — and several venture funds and businesses that specialize in warehousing and logistics, including Kenco Logistics, Coyote, Steam Logistics, Reliance Partners, Workhound, Locatible and the Dynamo Fund.

Since Freightwaves launched in June 2016, it has created the No. 1 most trafficked news and commentary site in all of freight worldwide, with over 1.1 million page views a month, according to FreightWaves.

Returning investors include Fontinalis Partners and Story Ventures, the company said. Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund were first time participants in this latest round.

FreightWaves was the winner of Revolution's Rise of the Rest pitch competition held in Chattanooga earlier this spring.

J.D Vance, the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund's managing partner, said FreightWaves is building on Chattanooga's legacy as a center of logistics innovation.

"It is yet another great example of a company outside of Silicon Valley successfully leveraging local industry expertise," he said.

Ty Findley, senior associate at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, said that with its hometown of Chicago both a logistics hub and a pioneer of the global futures market, "we're excited to work with this all-star team to transform the global freight industry."

Kelvin Beachum Jr., the New York Jets offensive tackle, also participated in the round. He made the list of The World's Top 20 Most Tech-Savvy Athletes, according to FreightWaves.

Fuller said the company is expanding globally. In addition to the Chattanooga headquarters, the company has offices in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, London and Singapore.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.