Axle, a cash flow management solution for the freight and logistics industry, announced today it has raised $28M in equity and debt financing. Leading fintech investors, Anthemis and Techstars, participated in the round. They join top freight-tech investors, like Trucks VC and Fontinalis Partners, who have already invested in the company.
Axle helps freight brokers and freight forwarders better manage their cash flow by providing them with affordable working capital and automating their back-office work. Axle also enables their clients to easily offer their trucking company vendors a 24-hour “QuickPay” service that cements the relationship between broker and carrier.
“Cash flow problems can be incredibly painful for freight brokers and freight forwarders,” said Bharath Krishnamoorthy, co-founder and CEO of Axle. “Cash flow is even more critical now, as the pandemic and shutdowns have disrupted supply chains worldwide. Axle offers these logistics intermediaries the flexible financing they need to succeed in the economic downturn and throughout the recovery.”
Krishnamoorthy and co-founder Shawn Vo are longtime business partners who have been close friends since high school.
“Bharath and I actually had this idea while building a different transportation tech company. From that experience, we learned that cash flow is the make-or-break issue for most small businesses,” explained Vo, who is Axle’s CTO. “So we leveraged our technology expertise to solve those cash flow issues for freight brokers and forwarders,” he added.
While there are hundreds of specialty finance companies in the US that focus on solving the cash flow problems of trucking companies, very few solutions are available for freight brokers or freight forwarders. Axle has built a proprietary, software-based service for these intermediaries that enables the brokers and forwarders to automate their own operational overhead. Axle’s clients are able to focus on their core business of delivering best-in-class service to their own clients.
Anthemis, Axle’s newest investor, has extensive experience helping companies bring new financial services to market. Axle seeks to leverage the new capital, as well as the investor’s deep domain expertise, to build out the company’s team, further develop their product, and position Axle to offer its services to additional markets.
“The Axle team is building exactly the kind of business we need right now: a tech-enabled solution providing liquidity to vital logistics providers through freight intermediaries. If COVID has shown us anything, it is just how vital ground freight is to the fabric of our economy,” said Ruth Foxe-Blader, Partner at Anthemis.
Axle got its start at Techstars Mobility, a 90-day mentorship-driven accelerator program, based in Detroit. Managing Director, Ted Serbinski added: “When I joined the pre-seed round in Axle, I was drawn to Bharath’s and Shawn’s vision to use software to improve revenue for small businesses. Running the program in Detroit was the gateway to these small businesses that are the backbone of America.”
“In the US alone, freight brokers and freight forwarders assist in moving over $100B in freight every year,” said Shawn Vo. “Many of these brokers and forwarders are small, family-owned businesses, but together they arrange transportation for all the physical goods we use and consume every day, from food to furniture, and from lawnmowers to lumber.”
“At Axle, we do our best to make sure these companies have the capital they need to operate and grow,” Vo concluded.
Axle is a venture-backed innovator in the freight finance sector. By combining decades of industry expertise with a next-generation technology platform, Axle is helping freight intermediaries modernize their operations and optimize their cash flows.
Anthemis cultivates change in financial services by investing in, growing and sustaining businesses committed to improving the world. We are founded on three guiding principles — authentic collaboration, virtuous cycle outcomes, and diversity and inclusivity — and our deep understanding of markets and models, passion for emerging technology and values inspire everything we do. By creating fertile ground for a diverse group of startups, investors, entrepreneurs, institutions, academics and visionaries to converge, we believe we can solve the financial services world’s most pressing challenges faster, better and for the benefit of all.
Techstars is the global platform for investment and innovation. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create the future, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Today our mission is to make innovation accessible to everyone, everywhere. We do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to create a more sustainable and inclusive world. Since 2006, Techstars has invested in more than 2,200 companies and today has a market cap of $27 Billion.