iContainers, a startup with ambitions to make moving goods from warehouse to warehouse anywhere in the world as easy as booking a hotel room, closed $6.7 million in growth capital today led by Serena Capital. CEO Jaime Jimenez wants to take the Expedia model and build it out for transporting freight long distances. Right now there are more costs built into global shipping than artificial ingredients in frozen TV dinners.
More than 20 separate costs prevent buyers from efficiently bringing their goods to market. iContainers seeks to take the port digital and bring transparency to an otherwise complex, cumbersome, and costly process involving customs agents, consultants, and copious paperwork. If the “C” words are tiring you out then you clearly haven’t shipped 16 tons of bathrobes from Turkey on a deadline.
“Anyone interested in shipping can look, find a quote and product combo, and book in less than 3 minutes,” said Jimenez. “Then they can check out and forget about the shipment.”
iContainers is an early market mover in what it calls door-to-door servicing. Using the company’s platform, users can schedule a warehouse pickup and have goods delivered directly to another warehouse in over 1,200 destinations. Previously, individuals would have to pick up goods directly at the port and arrange those logistics independently. Customers can use the platform to customize shipping routes based on factors, including timing, price and vendor.
“Amazon recently announced they are coming to help Chinese suppliers ship to the US, but we have a large international footprint. We are not focusing on the large corporates, they don’t allow us to scale,” added Jimenez.
The company is focused on only coordinating logistics for standard services that do not involve refrigerated, hazardous or oversized goods.
“Staying standard enables us to scale operations without enlarging our team too much. We are the Southwest Airlines of this industry,” said Jimenez.
The additional funding from Serena Capital brings iContainers’ total fundraising to $9 million. The money will enable the company to further develop its product and expand its global operations footprint.
“iContainers is a good example of disruption in a known industry that has not yet been digitalized and where the internet will be very helpful,” said Anne-Valerie Bach, Partner at the fund.
The Barcelona-based company has a significant portion of its operations in Miami and plans to grow its workforce from 45 to nearly 90 over the next year.