Logistics and transportation provider Ryder System Inc. is predicting fast growth in supply chain technology and has created a $50 million venture capital fund to ride that wave, the company said today.
The “RyderVentures” initiative is intended to invest in and partner with startup companies that are developing new technologies and business models that deliver advancements and automation in the logistics and transportation industries, the Miami-based firm said.
More specifically, Ryder plans to invest that money over the next five years, focusing on startups that are tackling disruptions in the supply chain, driven by accelerating demand for e-commerce fulfillment, asset sharing, next-generation vehicles, automation, and data analytics.
By creating a venture arm, Ryder joins other logistics sector companies that also invest in startups, such as Zebra Technologies, A.P. Moller-Maersk, and UPS Inc. For example, in 2019, UPS Ventures bought a minority stake in the self-driving truck tech startup TuSimple and also backed a blockchain-based e-commerce startup called Inxeption Corp. Also in 2019, Zebra Ventures provided funding for the autonomous mobile robot (AMR) vendor Locus Robotics, following its investment in the robotic automation startup Plus One Robotics Inc. And in 2018, Maersk Growth invested in the digital freight matching (DFM) startup Loadsmart.
But according to Ryder, it brings more than a fat wallet to the investment game. The company also plans to leverage its position in the logistics industry to help those young firms accelerate their development through pilot projects where they can perfect their products in real use cases, conducted through Ryder’s relationships with more than 50,000 customers across 20 industries and relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
In addition, the company says this is not its first foray into launching new technology platforms, but rather it follows the company’s own recent launches of the peer-to-peer commercial truck sharing platform COOP by Ryder, and its real-time visibility and collaboration platform RyderShare.