With a team of 70+ employees across Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, Mumbai-based FreightBro has been revolutionising the trillion-dollar forwarding industry through digitisation of the manual processes in logistics and bringing in data and analytics.
Founded by Raghavendran Viswanathan (Co-founder & CEO), Mohammed Zakkiria A (Co-founder) and V Anand Babu, (Director & Co-founder), it has been providing a digital platform for freight forwarders to procure rates faster, reduce operational inefficiencies, boost sales, make informed decisions and provide seamless user experience using data analytics.
FreightBro is tackling several challenges of shipment inefficiencies and bringing rate management, price discovery, instant quote creation, quote management, shipment management, shipment tracking all on a single platform.
How did it all begin? And why the freight forwarding industry? Viswanathan says that during one of his jobs at a Swiss freight-forwarding company, he used to have frequent conversations with Mohammed around logistics and freight. During that time they also met Anand, who is an industry veteran with 25 years of experience with one of the world’s largest shipping companies.
As Viswanathan shares, while he is responsible for strategizing and managing the team at FreightBro, Mohammed strategises company’s growth and heads marketing functions, and Anand heads the partnerships verticals.
Analytics And Data Science At FreightBro
FreightBro is not the usual logistics company. It extensively uses analytics and data science to understand user behaviour and understanding the issues that business stakeholders face on a day to day basis in the industry. Currently, their analytics team in 5-people strong.
“On a use case basis, for example, number of users searching for freight rates, or the number of quotes generated, trade lanes that are searched for the most, the trade lanes for which users seek more and more competitive rates, the liners preferred for a certain trade lane, these are mines of information and the more analytical data we have as these, the better it helps us to make the product more user-oriented and thus deliver an optimum end-user experience,” shares Viswanathan.
It allows stakeholders to leverage this significant data to make critical business decisions and deliver better to their customers. “Similarly, for the users who are using our platform, many more such parameters help them assess the performance of the sales executives in the department,” he said.
Not just use data analytics, but FreightBro is enabling clients to digitize key processes such as sales, procurement and operations to give end to end visibility to their customers. The startup is automating the manual tasks to bring in more efficiency and reduce the costs of logistics. “The exporter or importer gets the best-in-class experience similar to online ticket booking platforms or net banking,” shares Viswanathan.
FreightBro also offers a custom mobile application to 3PLs to perform the same functions as the platform but on their mobile devices thereby making freight forwarding all the simpler and more accessible. “We offer a subscription model which is in line with the asset-light model of 3PLs compared to traditional technology providers who charge a fortune for basic ERPs,” he added.
Technology Is Driving Them To Stay Ahead Of The Game
The competition in the space is no less. But Viswanathan is quite positive that with a digital platform like theirs, even small-sized freight forwarders can leverage technology to offer a holistic user experience. Some of the benefits that he lists are:
- Firstly, it is a SaaS-based solution and per user/per transaction-based model. Therefore, cost & benefit-wise it makes much more sense for freight forwarders in comparison to legacy software that is always charged per license or installation basis. Affordability, Delivering better user experience and latest technology are the main drivers why freight forwarders prefer using the FreightBro platform.
- Secondly, they believe in the fact that disruption alone will not enable growth in the long run and wiping out freight forwarders from the ecosystem is never a viable solution. The founders believe that for digitization to thrive and freight forwarders to grow and adapt, there is a need for more enablers.
Viswanathan says that the evolution of technology has transformed freight forwarders from mere movers of shipments to transport management service providers. With mobiles and advent of digitization, freight forwarders can now not only effectively and efficiently concentrate on their core competency but also offer an extraordinary service level. The startup has allowed even small-sized sized freight forwarders to leverage the digitization wave to offer a holistic user experience through finding better rates or schedules, increase quote to win ratio, effectively manage documentation and provide real-time visibility of shipments to their customers.
The founders currently plan to continue working on their IP to ease the workload for freight forwarders and save their time. With a partnership with the National Association Of Freight And Logistics, Dubai, and Port of Wilhelmshaven, Germany, they further plant to continue their strategic collaborations that impact the freight forwarding industry. “We have also recently joined the Digital Hub Logistics, Hamburg and are now a part of their extensive network of German startups and corporates,” said Viswanathan. They had also recently raised a seed round of funding last year from Suresh Kumar, former Global CIO of Bank of New York Mellon, which they plan to use for product development and expansion.
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Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.