- Laura Van Bellinghen
Qargo raises $6m to drive transport firms into the future
Qargo, the next-generation transport management system (TMS), has picked up a $6M Seed Round led by Fred Destin at Stride.VC (who previously backed the likes of Deliveroo and Cazoo) with participation from noted executives Stephane Kurgan (ex COO of King) and Breon Corcoran (CEO of WorldRemit, ex CEO of Betfair).
Qargo will use the funding to expand internationally and extend its sales and customer excellence organisation.
Road transport is critical to European trade, it supports the entire continents’ consumption, construction and commercial activity. It truly drives our economy.
Yet, even though it plays such a critical role in our supply chains and success, the transport sector is a woefully inefficient industry that suffers from ineffective scheduling, an absence of optimisation and low levels of customer satisfaction.
The transportation industry comprises of a complex ecosystem of small local companies interspersed with larger international players that weaves an intricate web of relationships, routes, collaborations and contracts that are typically managed either manually or with antiquated software. The majority of the sector is under-equipped for the challenges it faces.
Transport is a massive segment that is yet to benefit from the advances in the ‘consumerisation of tech’, user-centred design, and AI-powered optimisation. If software is eating the world, then transport is one of the last major industries it has yet to feast on.
Qargo was started by serial entrepreneurs Adriaan Coppens and Joeri De Turck, the Flemish duo behind OTA Insight, a travel management company that’s raised over $100M, where the pair acted as CEO and CTO, respectively.
Based out of London and their hometown of Ghent, Coppens and De Turck – alongside co-founder and engineer Sander De Wilde – are taking on the challenge of building a next-generation TMS for road freight.
By deeply immersing themselves in transport companies’ pain points, Qargo uncovered the insights to build an all-in-one TMS. It streamlines administration with its user-friendly design and workflow automation, and slashes wasted trucking mileage through optimised planning and modernised communication.
"Developing a next-generation road TMS is extremely complicated once you dive into the details. You have to be a little crazy to go after it, and you need exceptional engineering, product and design capabilities. It's the kind of challenge we just had to go after." (Joeri De Turck)
Central to Qargo’s mission is the ability to deliver immediate environmental impact and emissions reductions by making road freight radically more efficient.
"Trucks drive empty 1/3 of the time, which produces more emissions than all international flights combined," reports Coppens, Qargo co-founder and CEO.
Qargo is a clear example of the next wave of disruption being delivered by ‘vertical SaaS’ companies. These startups are creating software designed to address highly specific use cases and needs for specific industries. One after another, huge industry segments such as road transport are taking significant steps to digitise their businesses which are yielding huge opportunities for software startups such as Qargo.
The Qargo team spent almost two years in deep R&D before releasing their first product in 2022 and are already live with a number of European transport companies.
"To deliver value, you have to solve hard problems. At Stride, we are big fans of teams who go after overlooked and underserved markets and have done the hard work of understanding the unique needs of their customers deeply. The Qargo team has demonstrated this amply." (Fred Destin)