Since the start of the pandemic, the global supply chain has been – and continues to be – under intense pressure. As of late last month, more than 300 ships were loaded in China and waiting to head to the U.S., Cargomatic’s Weston Labar told NPR Marketplace. Meanwhile, warehouse space remains at a premium. Unless something changes, experts expect the chaos to cool down.
Automation cannot overcome these problems – but it can help. At least, that’s according to King Alandi D, founder of Expedoc, which uses AI to digitize waybills and integrate them into existing logistics management tools. To demonstrate investor confidence, Expedoc today closed a $13.5 million Series A round of funding from Insight Partners, Winn, Descent Capital, Fourth Estate, Neo and Pear, bringing the startup’s total raised to $17.5 million.
Today, the entire global supply chain is run in part by structured information and latent information systems. Because of this, visibility into their own business is extremely limited because these supply chain businesses don’t have access to their own data, Dye told TechCrunch in an email Q&A. “[With Expedock]Instead of having to determine shipping or ground cost margins every quarter, customers can see everything live.
Before founding Expedoc, Dye started a software-as-a-service platform that managed college admissions. He later joined Intuit as a data communications and machine learning specialist, where he built a dashboard that showed bank account reconciliations for “high value” requests from users.
“Our COO, Jeff Tan, comes from a family of freight forwarders,” Dee said. “We’ve been doing international shipping since we were 15 years old – Tan and I know the craft involved in doing international shipping. [To launch Expedock]In the first computer science class, I brought our CTO and seatmate, Rui Aguiar.
Expedoc invoices shipping invoices in PDFs and emails, creates invoices, and performs audits against current shipment inventory. The platform tries to reconcile documents with third-party websites and internal systems and focus exceptions, sending the information to transport management and enterprise resource planning systems.
Die Expedoc says it will use the documents and associated shipping data augmented by public data and “AI-generated sources” to train its invoicing systems. AI-powered features on the roadmap include detecting fraud in supply chain payments and predicting supplier congestion and margins.
It’s this AI application that piqued the interest of Insight Partner’s Connor Guess, he told TechCrunch in an email. “Through their innovative use of AI to automate the time-consuming documentation process, Expedock will modernize freight forwarding and reduce inefficiencies in maintaining inventory,” said Geuss, who is joining Expedock’s board of directors. Insight’s bread and butter is software companies making disruptive changes to their industries, and that’s exactly what Expedoc is doing in the global freight industry.
While there’s plenty of competition in the freight logistics technology space — check out Vector.ai and 7bridges for starters — DieExpedoc is currently working with some of the biggest brands in the global supply chain, including Wayfair, ClearFreight and Ascent. When asked, he said he was not concerned about the global economic headwinds as business remained stable despite doom and gloom headlines.
Expedo has the advantage that the sector – transportation and logistics – still has disproportionately high investment activity. Supply chain woes have been a windfall for some startups in the segment, with M&A activity for all venture-backed supply chain and logistics startups expected to reach $2.7 billion in the U.S. by 2021, a 68% increase from 2019, according to McKinsey.
“Given the explosive consumption of material goods and the high levels of international trade, Expedoc has seen its customers grow every week,” Dye said. “In general, the general feeling in the space is that there are not enough people to move the goods that the market needs. There are of course downsides here, but the ability to move cargo is far less than the demand, so even if this demand is declining, we are still at about 8x the cost of global logistics before the outbreak.
Beyond product development, Expedoc’s immediate focus will be to hire engineers and account executives and increase the number of integrations on the platform, Dye said. Expedoc employs 13 people today – a number Die expects to reach 40 by the end of 2022.