Plans to build the global operating system for air cargo
cargo.one, the digital booking platform for air cargo, has raised $18.6 million in venture funding. In response to rising demand, it plans to onboard new airlines, grow in additional markets and hire 70 employees, tripling the size of the company by the end of the year.
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.
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 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.
With 35% of the world’s trade by value being transported by plane, air freight generates $100 billion in revenue every year.
Pre-Covid projections forecast the market would grow at approximately 4.2% per year. The speed of air cargo makes it a crucial link in global supply chains – especially for the many industries that ship in components for ‘just in time’ manufacture, and for life-saving products such as pharmaceuticals.
As passenger numbers have tumbled sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic, airlines are relying even more heavily on cargo. Only around 20% of the widebody passenger capacity is still flying today, and some passenger airlines have even removed seats to convert aircraft into freighters.
At the same time, traditional ways of selling and booking air cargo by email or phone have become almost an impossible task, as personnel are working from home – resulting in the rapid adoption of new digital tools.
Moritz Claussen, co-founder and Managing Director of cargo.one said: ‘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.’
‘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, including 21 of the top 25 companies globally.
From January to June 2020, cargo.one 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.
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.