Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has led a round of investment in a UK freight forwarding AI start-up.
Beacon received $15 million in its Series A funding round from Bezos and other investors such as venture capital firm 8VC.
The start-up, which uses machine learning to optimise shipping routes and processes within the supply chain, was founded in 2018 by alumni from Uber, Amazon and Google. It offers services including global ocean, air and truck freight, as well as supply chain finance, through a single platform.
Beacon co-founder and CEO Fraser Robinson said: “Beacon has attracted investment from some of the best minds in business and technology. The traditional freight forwarder model remains surprisingly analogue, using systems and processes that are slow and inefficient, with opaque pricing and limited use of technology.
“Our goal is to disrupt the trillion-dollar freight forwarder market by vastly improving the experience for importers and exporters with a more transparent and smarter shipping product. We also believe that our ability to offer supply chain finance can be transformative for our customers by allowing them to better control and manage their cash flow.
“We have built a team with deep expertise in technology, logistics and finance in a short period of time – these new funds will enable us to continue to strengthen that team and invest in our technology, while also increasing our international presence.
“With digitalisation accelerating globally as a result of COVID-19, we believe the future of the traditional freight forwarder is more precarious than ever. Shippers are seeking technology-led products and services that will meet their needs more effectively, enhance their experience and cut their costs. We look forward to meeting that demand.”