Maynard-based Kuebix has new plan to disrupt freight industry
Boston Business Journal, October 2017
by Kelly J. O’Brien
The transportation management startup is now giving away its software for free, and may need to raise a significant round of funding to support its new business model.
Maynard-based Kuebix Inc. has a new plan to stand out in the crowded field of startups trying to revolutionize the way freight gets hauled around the world: it’s now giving its software away for free.
The 9-year-old company has so far sold what’s called “transportation management software” to customers who move materials or products around the world, whether by truck, rail, ship or plane. The software allows businesses to quickly search for the cheapest shipping route and provider for any given shipment, taking into account the specially negotiated rates that most companies have with various third-party carriers.
But Kuebix CEO David Lemont thinks there’s an opportunity for the startup to make the entire freight industry more efficient by using its software to look across thousands of companies and match product shipments with empty carrier capacity.
“That is the big play here,” Lemont said in a phone interview. “All this only works with volume and for that to happen we need lots of shippers,” which is why the company is making its flagship software free.
Kuebix, which has raised about $15 million to date from investors including Boston-based Pillar, is not alone in its new mission. This spring, Uber launched Uber freight, which connects truck drivers with shippers. And other freight-booking startups like Transfix and Convoy are much better funded than Kuebix, with total funding of $78.5 million and $80 million, respectively.
But Lemont, who came on as CEO in June and formerly led AppIQ, thinks Kuebix has an advantage because it works with carriers in all forms of transportation, not just truckers, and because its software is simple enough to set up in just a few minutes.
“I actually had sworn off of being a CEO again,” Lemont said of his career before joining Kuebix. “I felt that the opportunity here was so disruptive.”
Kuebix currently employs about 90 people, and Lemont said it will probably look to raise money again within the next six months to support the next chapter of its growth.
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