Jeff Bezos invests in UK digital freight forwarder start up

London-based Beacon, the freight forwarding and supply chain finance company, has raised over US$15 million in its Series A fundraising round, with investors including Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, and leading US venture capital firm 8VC.

The company is using AI, search, optimization, data, cloud and automation technologies to drive disruption and operational efficiencies in the $1 trillion global freight forwarding industry.  Beacon’s customers benefit from optimized shipping routes and processes that reduce costs, while increasing booking speed and transport efficiency.

The freight forwarding and supply chain finance industries are worth an estimated $1 trillion and $12 trillion a year, respectively, with the former still a highly fragmented market in which the top ten forwarders globally control just 43%. 

Many of the logistics incumbents have been slow to digitize, and with fewer than 30% of shippers being satisfied with the customer service they receive, the industry is ripe for disruption.

Beacon aims to make trade simpler, more transparent and more reliable for businesses. It offers a full range of services, including global ocean, air and truck freight, together with supply chain finance, all of which can be accessed and managed on a single platform.

Beacon’s platform combines a real-time view of the global delivery of cargo and a marketplace view of global shipping costs and prices, all powered by machine learning that optimizes shipping routes and processes for improved cost, speed and predictability.

Beacon’s supply chain finance offering sets it apart from traditional freight forwarders by helping to solve one of the biggest challenges faced by importers today – cash flow. Suppliers often demand payment before goods are shipped and, with months-long shipment times, importers need flexible finance to meet their working capital needs. To address this, Beacon offers qualifying customers financing within 72 hours, which also entitles them to shipping discounts.

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