Logistics startup DispatchTrack today announced it raised $144 million in the company’s first-ever financing round. CEO Satish Natarajan says it’ll be used to support product research and development, as well as business, segment, and geographic expansion.
The logistics market is an increasingly attractive investment in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic. With customers either choosing or being mandated to stay at home, DispatchTrack says it’s seeing growth on the end-customer side as well as from ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores. Even pre-pandemic, last-mile delivery was fast becoming the most expensive part of the supply chain, with research firm Capgemini pegging the percentage of costs at 41%.
DispatchTrack was founded in 2010 by Satish Natarajan and Shailu Satish, a husband-and-wife team who focused on the furniture industry before expanding into building materials, appliances, food and beverage distribution, restaurants, field and home services, and third-party logistics. Their company now offers a range of services including route optimization, reservations, billing and settlement, and omnichannel order tracking.
DispatchTrack’s route optimization system allows users to control various delivery parameters, with a dashboard that presents optimizers for scheduling thousands of stops for hundreds of trucks. Calendar-based templates can be designed within DispatchTrack’s platform for upcoming holiday weeks and seasonal fluctuations to apply rules, constraints, and combinations of routing strategies to each order.
DispatchTrack users can classify customers into tiers to ensure that they’re serviced promptly. And DispatchTrack’s Route Advisor gives every decision (including adding late orders) in the route editor a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, determined by predicting whether the decision will improve costs, meet delivery time window constraints, or maintain arrival consistency.
DispatchTrack offers a mobile app used by “thousands” of drivers that works offline and boasts features like proof of delivery. Clients can customize their terms and confirmation statements, as well as the documentation that indicates goods were accepted by end-customers. To prevent false liabilities, the app walks couriers through a checklist of steps, including snapping pictures (or recording videos) and noting dates and locations. And to meet regulations requiring that drivers be “satisfied” that delivery vehicle parts are in good working order, the app provides drivers the ability to fill out forms and store them for audit at any point in the future.
On the customer side, DispatchTrack facilitates calls, texts, and emails to confirm delivery appointment times. (Companies who opt to do so can embed an order-tracking widget on their website.) On the day of scheduled deliveries, it allows drivers to push out calls along with live estimated time to arrivals, while at the same time letting customers call in to confirm their information.
This all works in tandem with DispatchTrack’s reservation system, which streamlines the booking process. Customers are given a choice of appointments. As these appointments are booked, the system deducts from available capacity so that the next customer won’t see appointments that would result in overbooking. Capacity can be calculated at the service level or by geographic region (i.e., by ZIP code or geocoding), as well as via API, so that it can be connected to an existing point-of-sales system.
Ony any given day, third-party apps written on top of DispatchTrack’s core data call the API 60 million to 80 million times. And in any given week, the company creates and maintains 2 million to 3 million new pieces of delivery-related content, such as picture and driver notes.
DispatchTrack also handles billing, settlement, and social reviews to the extent that it offers programmable rules and allows the import of data via CSV. It automatically calculates things like fuel surcharge, making reports available in a timeline and optionally requiring managers to sign off on billing orders. And post-delivery, DispatchTrack can present customers with a survey and an option to post to Google Reviews directly from their phones.
DispatchTrack competes with startups like FarEye, SourceDay, and Flock Freight in the global logistics space, which is anticipated to be worth $15.5 trillion by 2023. Uber offers a service called Uber Freight, to which it recently committed another $200 million as part of a major expansion. San Francisco-based startup KeepTruckin last year secured $149 million to further develop its shipment marketplace, and Next Trucking closed a $97 million investment. For its part, Convoy raised $400 million at a $2.75 billion valuation to make freight trucking more efficient.
But DispatchTrack says it’s doing brisk business, with over 60 million deliveries a year for over 1,100 customers including Ryder, Mattress Firm, and Poolman.
DispatchTrack is based out of San Jose, California, with a staff of 70 employees across offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Hyderabad and Mysore, India. In conjunction with its fundraising, which Spectrum Equity led, Spectrum’s managing director Vic Parker and VP Adam Gassin will join DispatchTrack’s board of directors.
“We spent the last ten years refining our product and service, and we have received validation from customers across industries and geographies,” said Satish, “Now, with Spectrum’s partnership, we are ready to scale and maximize the potential of DispatchTrack. We are excited about this new stage in our continued growth.”