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April 29, 2019

Fretlink Raises $28 Million to Build a New Standard in Organizing Road Freight Transportation

Just three years after its founding, Fretlink is already helping more than 400 European companies transform their supply chains. How? By enabling them to connect to a community of 5,000 reliable and connected local carriers.

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New York, NY, April 29th, 2019 -- Just three years after its founding, Fretlink is already helping more than 400 European companies transform their supply chains. How? By enabling them to connect to a community of 5,000 reliable and connected local carriers through a new digitalized, data-driven standard for organizing road freight transportation. On the strength of its 80 employees, the company boosted its total sales tenfold in one year from €1.4 million ($1.56 million) in 2017 to €15 million ($16.75 million) in 2018.

Although this first phase of growth is promising, Fretlink plans to pick up the pace and reaffirm the suitability of its model and the realism of its ambitions. Today the company is raising €25 million ($28 million) in a Series B round to become the leader in the European market and book €150 ($167.5) to €200 ($223.27) million in total annualized sales by the end of 2020.

The industry is at a turning point

"The needs of supply chains have changed. So has technology. In the coming years, the automation and centralization of road freight operations will deeply change uses and, more broadly, the way the industry is organized and how its stakeholders collaborate," explains Paul Guillemin, CEO and Co-Founder of Fretlink. "In addition, the current context is one of inadequate transportation capacity, which means the market is driven by supply, rather than demand. As a result, the key asset shippers are looking for is suppliers' loyalty. Organizations that are out in front of these changes are the ones that will be in the best position to become leaders in their industry." This is the shared view of all the investors backing Fretlink in this new round of financing.

Indeed, the main investors in this round are major players in the ground freight industry: Edenred Capital Partners, a venture capital outfit backed by the Edenred Group, the worldwide leader in payment solutions for businesses (offering, among other things, fuel cards for heavy-duty vehicle fleets in Europe through its subsidiary UTA), and TIP, a leading European provider of semi-trailer rental, maintenance and repair solutions.

All Fretlink's earliest partners who invested in the Series A round in April 2017 (Daphni, Elaia Partners, Breega Capital, The Family, SGH Capital and the American firm Tekton) are also participating in this new round. Lastly, there are two more new additions to the investor pool: Weaving Invest (a subsidiary of Weaving Group) and the world-renowned, visionary business angel Fabrice Grinda, who has already invested in more than 150 projects around the world (Airbnb, Alibaba Group, Bla Bla Car, Palantir Technologies, Dropbox, etc.).

A services platform dedicated to the largest community of carriers in Europe

The support of Edenred Capital Partners and TIP will enable Fretlink to enrich its platform of services devoted entirely to the road freight carriers who work regularly with the start-up. This will further the goal of cultivating loyalty among its partners with business advantages and services that allow them to sustain and grow their operations.

Commercial benefits, optimized fuel cost management and access to other services that improve the day-to-day experience for truckers and fleet owners are some of the benefits that will be offered on the platform.

Use of this services platform will be an additional advantage on top of the growth opportunities, digital tools and operational and administrative support Fretlink already provides to its partners.

"We decided to invest in this new round of financing because we believe in the quality of the team working with Paul Guillemin and Antoine Le Squeren, who have managed, in a short span of time, to develop an effective platform to streamline the high-potential market of European transportation. They will be able to create synergies with Edenred, an international name in professional transit logistics," declares Norbert Furnion, Managing Partner at Edenred Capital Partners.

"With our comprehensive transportation equipment fleet for lease and rental as well as our Pan-European workshop network for maintenance, repair and roadside assistance services, we will support transport and logistics companies and shippers through partnering with the innovative and rapidly expanding Fretlink platform," says Bob Fast, CEO at TIP Trailer services.
Deployment in Europe: Fretlink plans to open three new offices

Europe is not a new market for Fretlink. The start-up has been operating in 22 European countries since 2018, but now it is aiming to build even closer ties with order makers and carriers throughout Europe, which is why the company plans to open three new European offices in 2019: Germany, Belgium and Poland.

"Our clients have supply chains and challenges on a European scale, with manufacturing sites in multiple countries and complex transportation patterns. With this expansion, we plan to forge strong ties with local stakeholders and continue building a transportation organization standard throughout all of Europe," adds Paul Guillemin.

The priorities for this European expansion are Germany and Belgium, where Fretlink will open offices by the end of the second quarter of 2019.

One hundred new hires announced to support growth

To make this growth a reality, Fretlink will create 100 new jobs by the end of 2020. The company already has a workforce of 80, but is setting its sights on building out its R&D, product (solution design and development), sales and operations and coordination teams. It will also reinforce its carrier partnership staff.

As Paul Guillemin points out, "Fretlink's real strength lies in the diverse backgrounds of our employees. We have united two worlds that, until now, had never really communicated with one another. Today we want to carry on with this approach and keep surrounding ourselves with the brightest minds in each field."

Several job listings for key positions will be posted in the next few weeks.

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